Both the ruling VMRO-DMPNE and the opposition SDSM have declared victory.
VMRO-DPMNE’s advantage of about five percent announced by the State Election Commission after the polling stations were closed soon dissipated, with the party led by long-time PM Nikola Gruevski now about 1.5 percent, or some 15,000 votes ahead of the SDSM, led by Zoran Zaev.
Despite the original early results, Zaev soon after the closing of the polls called on citizens to go to the streets and celebrate victory, announcing that the opposition had won in all city neighborhoods of Skopje.
At the same time, the ruling party was convincing its supporters that the advantage they had would only grow during the night.
Based on 99.34 percent of the counted votes this morning, the coalition around VMRO-DPMNE had 444,014 votes, while the coalition led by SDSM took 428,683 votes.
The biggest party representing ethnic Albanians, DUI, won 85,774 votes, followed by BESA (57,749), the Alliance for Albanians (35,103), and the DPA (30, 971), Beta reported, quoting Macedonia’s MIA agency.
According to the same report, the elections went “without major incidents” and with a record turnout of 67,97 percent.
The Election Commission’s head Aleksandar Cicakovski told reporters at 03:00 CET on Monday that the commission received no complaints about irregularities.
However, the SDSM continues to insist they will have 52 mandates against VMRO-DPMNE’s 51, and that DUI would receive 8, BESA 4, and DPA 2 seats in the country’s 120-seat assembly.
Zoran Zaev announced that “the regime has fallen,” Beta said, adding that citizens and the international community expect a new government to “lead the country out of the deep, two-year political crisis, and solve the problem related to its name, that is disputed by Greece.”