Macedonia’s inconclusive election indicates continuing political uncertainty in 2017 with probable new vote, stalled anti-corruption efforts

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Key Points

  • If the political parties fail to reach consensus over government formation – a reasonably likely scenario – an early election is likely in May 2017.
  • Protests, posing moderate risks of collateral damage to vehicles and building fronts, and injury to bystanders, are likely in the capital, Skopje, and northern or western FYR Macedonia.
  • The Special Prosecutor risks being obstructed with anti-corruption efforts potentially stalling.

EVENT

In the final results from the Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) Macedonia’s early parliamentary election on 11 December, 2016 with a re-run at one polling station on 25 December, the nationalist Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) came first, winning 51 of the 120 seats in parliament but losing 10 seats and lacking a majority.

The VMRO-DPMNE, which has led the coalition government since 2006 with leader Nikola Gruevski as Prime Minister, saw its share of votes fall by nearly 4% compared to the previous election in 2014. The party’s coalition partner in the ongoing parliament – the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (BDI) – suffered most proportionately, losing 9 and retaining just 10 seats, with its vote share declining to 7.5% from 13.7%. The main opposition party – the centre-left Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) – will have 49 MPs, increasing its parliamentary representation by 15, and its voting share from 25.3% to 37.9%. Three other ethnic Albanian parties, presenting themselves as alternatives to BDI, also entered parliament, taking the remaining 10 seats. Three seats, reserved for overseas voters, failed to reach the required quorum and remain vacant. No single party achieved an overall majority.

A coalition involving at least 61 MPs is now required to hold a governing majority. Typically in FYR Macedonia a major mainstream political party forms a ruling coalition with one of the small parties that represent the country’s Albanian minority (around 25% of the population).