Ruling Parties Seal Local Election Victory in Macedonia

Macedonia's SDSM, led by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, confirmed its widespread support, winning 18 of the 35 municipalities in which voting took place Sunday. The first round already suggested widespread support on October 15 (SDSM won 39), which together with Sunday's vote means that in total the party now controls at least 57 out of Macedonia's 81 municipalities.

The government's bitter political rivals, the right-wing VMRO-DPMNE party led by Nikola Gruevski, suffered a crushing defeat once again, winning only two municipalities in this second round. In total, the former ruling party will now likely have only five mayors. 

SDSM managed to secure a victory in the eastern Macedonian town of Stip, which was widely regarded as the last big remaining VMRO-DPMNE stronghold. The party also beat VMRO-DPMNE in the Skopje municipalities of Gazi Baba, Kisela Voda and Butel, which were also traditional right-wing strongholds.

The DUI won in 11 ethnic Albanian municipalities and managed to maintain its dominance over its main rivals, the Alliance for Albanians and the BESA movement, which together forged a mid-election alliance after the first round.

DUI secured a victory in the northwestern town of Tetovo and in the Skopje municipality of Cair, which was seen as the main prize of the Albanian areas. The DUI also managed a surprising victory in the town of Struga, where the head of the Alliance for Albanians, Zijadin Sela, was a favorite after the first round.

However, the party lost to the Alliance in the town of Gostivar and to BESA in the rural municipality of Zelino.

The rural municipality of Brvenica was the only area in which an independent candidate won in the second round of voting.

Opposition Cries Foul...

Continue reading on: