Macedonians in one voting district have been casting their ballots in a rerun of a parliamentary election that could threaten the slim majority of the long-ruling conservatives.
The December 25 rerun of the vote in heavily ethnic-Albanian populated northwestern Macedonia was ordered by the state election commission on December 21 after complaints from the main opposition Social Democrats about voting irregularities.
The results of the December 11 parliamentary elections showed former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s conservative VMRO-DPME party winning 51 seats in the 120-member parliament while the Social Democrats won 49.
That leaves the VMRO-DPME needing a coalition partner with 10 seats to control the narrowest possible parliamentary majority.
According to the December 11 results, Gruevski’s longtime ethnic Albanian allies in the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) won 10 seats. But the DUI splintered in 2015 with key members leaving.
Apart from the DUI’s traditional rival, the opposition Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA), the DUI also must stave off several newly formed ethnic Albanian opposition parties -- such as BESA and the DPA-Movement For Reforms.
If the DUI loses just one seat in the rerun, or if the Social Democrats gain one seat, it would stop the VMRO-DPME and DUI from being able to form a majority coalition together.
With reporting by RFE/RL's Balkan Service, AP, Reuters, and Balkan Insight