Macedonia ruling party tipped to win vote

Ruling conservatives likely to cement their grip on power in Sunday's snap elections despite a shaky economy.

    Macedonia ruling party tipped to win vote
    The ruling party hopes to increase its tally in parliament to 62 seats out of 123 [AFP]

    Macedonia's ruling conservatives are tipped to cement their grip on power in Sunday's snap election despite a shaky economy and a stalemate in the Balkan country's bid to join the EU.

    In tandem with the parliamentary poll, Macedonians will also chose their future president in a run-off between incumbent Gjorge Ivanov of the ruling VMRO-DPMNE and his Social Democrat rival Stevo Pendarovski, the AFP news agency reported.

    The legislative vote is being held a year ahead of schedule after the VMRO-DPMNE failed to agree with its ethnic Albanian coalition partner the DUI on a joint presidential candidate.

    Opinion polls have given a strong lead both to Ivanov and the VMRO-DPMNE, which is credited with 28 percent of the vote against 15 percent for the opposition Social Democrats (SDSM), according to AFP.

    The ruling party hopes to increase its tally in parliament to 62 seats out of 123 and enable Nikola Gruevski, its leader, to secure a third term as prime minister.

    In the outgoing assembly, Gruevski's party had just 55 seats, which forced them into a coalition with several minor parties to ensure majority backing in parliament.

    "The conservatives estimate that the opposition has neither the means nor the strength to win at this moment and want to ensure four additional years in power," said Aleksandar Damovski, an analyst.

    The state of the economy has been at the heart of the election campaign.

    GDP slid 0.4 percent in 2012, but rebounded last year with 3.1 percent growth on the back of fresh construction projects and growing exports and is forecast at three percent this year.

    But with an unemployment rate in excess of 28 percent in the country of two million people and an average monthly salary of $480, ordinary Macedonians remain gloomy about their prospects.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.