Macedonia Opposition Blames Poor Result on Fraud

The head of Macedonia's main opposition Social Democratic Party, SDSM, Zoran Zaev, said his party would soon provide evidence of election fraud on the part of the government of Nikola Gruevski whose VMRO DPMNE party is endorsing Ivanov’s candidacy for a second term.

“I pledge to expose how [Prime Minister Nikola] Gruevski is winning, which is a question on most citizen’s minds," Zaev said.

On Sunday, Macedonians chose between four presidential candidates in the first round. Ivanov won 449,000 votes, while the SDSM candidate, Stevo Pendarovski, came second with 326,000 votes.

The difference of more than 120,000 votes is a larger gap between the SDSM and VMRO DPMNE than previous elections have seen.

In last year’s local elections, the SDSM lagged behind VMRO DPMNE by some 110,000 votes. In the 2011 early general election, VMRO DPMNE won about 70,000 more votes than the SDSM.

Ivanov and Pendarovski will now go head to head in the second round, which takes place in April 27, alongside the early general election.

Zaev said the results did not reflect reality but were a consequence of “systematic government pressure” conveyed through state institutions.

“Misuses have reached their maximum extent. It is our duty to expose the system of Nikola Gruevski and to provide answers concerning all the doubts, assumptions and dilemmas. The SDSM is working on it. The mask behind the regime has fallen,” Zaev said.

Zaev added that he was not thinking of resigning as party leader. “At the moment, we are focused on victory,” he continued.

In response, the ruling party said the opposition should seek out the real reasons for its poor result on Sunday.

“Zaev will see the results...

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