Grueski victorious in violence-marred Macedonia polls

SKOPJE -- PM Nikola Grueski's VMRO-DPMNE-led coalition has won the most votes in the Macedonian parliamentary elections, unofficial results show.

Macedonian police secure one scene of shooting Sunday (Beta)
Macedonian police secure one scene of shooting Sunday (Beta)

The state electoral commission says that it has results for 82.63 percent of the cast votes, where VMRO-DPMNE has won 46.7 percent.

The Social-Democratic Alliance of Macedonia is trailing behind with 22.19 percent.

Two ethnic Macedonian parties follow: the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) with 11.26 percent, and the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA), which has won 10.13 percent of the votes counted so far.

The head of the commission, Jovan Josifovski, says 58.47 percent of the 1,779,116 eligible voters turned out to cast their ballots yesterday.

The voting took place against a backdrop of serious violence and irregularities, mostly in the ethnic Albanian areas, including several shooting incidents.

The one in Aracinovo, near capital Skopje, left one armed DUI supporter dead after a shootout with special Macedonian police.

And while the DPA celebrated the results last night in Tetovo, the DUI has refused to recognize the outcome in this town and in some polling stations near and around Skopje.

DUI leader Ali Ahmetli also said his rivals' celebrations were "a bloody wedding".

This was apparently in reference to celebratory shots fired from AK-47 automatic rifles after the polls closed last night, which the DPA says was "a spontaneous expression of joy" that they could not control.

Meanwhile in Brussels, the European Union has voiced its concern over the numerous incidents during the elections Sunday, and called for a repeat of voting in those areas that saw violence.

German DPA news agency reported last night, quoting an unnamed EU spokesman, that this was the position of the union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

According to the same report, Solana, who urged peaceful resolution of the situation, is in contact with all parties in Macedonia.

The United States also expressed its "disappointment" that the parliamentary elections were "not as good as the ones held in 2006".

This was heard Sunday in Skopje from U.S. Ambassador Gillian Milovanovich, who added that Macedonia "still has a chance to pass the democracy test".

The OSCE also commented that "expectations have not been met" when it comes to the vote. The organization's observers are due to issue their report today.