Far from resolving the long-standing political crisis in Macedonia, Sunday’s tight election outcome hints at an even tenser situation that could easily spill over into violent incidents, observers warn. “We have a tie position in both political blocs, numerous combinations for assembling a new government and a serious threat of ethnic conflict among Macedonians,” political analyst Daut Dauti told Deutsche Welle. Tension on the ground between the main ruling VMRO DPMNE party of former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and the main opposition Social Democratic Union, SDSM, led by Zoran Zaev is already dangerous, experts say. On Tuesday night, in the northern town of Kumanovo, special police units entered the home of local police chief Stojance Velickovic, reportedly in search of alleged evidence of election rigging. Velickovic, who was appointed by the now outgoing interim Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski, who comes from the ranks of the opposition, said the whole event was a set-up organized by the VMRO DPMNE party.
Local residents and opposition supporters gathered in front of Velickovic’s home in his defence, before he came out to assure people that he would not be arrested. The stand-off there comes after both the ruling and opposition parties on Monday accused each other of trying to steal the election and exchanged threats.
After the State Election Commission, DIK on Monday said preliminary unofficial results showed that VMRO DPMNE had won 51 of the 120 seats in parliament and the SDSM had won 49, the opposition demanded a repeat vote in some areas where they detected irregularities.
Zaev warned that Gruevski must not be allowed to form a government before such irregularities are addressed, adding that both parties could either end up having 50 MPs or that the opposition could yet have one more MP than VMRO DPMNE.