Macedonia's ruling Social Democrats (SDSM) have won a sweeping victory in a first round of local elections and delivered a severe blow to the conservative VMRO DPMNE party that ruled much of the country for more than a decade. Macedonia's State ...
The leader of the ruling Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) and Prime Minister Zoran Zaev goes on stage to declare victory for the local elections in Skopje, Macedonia, October 16, 2017. Photo: Reuters
SKOPJE, Macedonia - Macedonia's ruling party won the most municipalities in the weekend's local elections, the first test for Prime Minister Zoran Zaev's government since it took power in June, officials said Monday.
The Social Democratic Party of Macedonia (SDSM) scored a victory in 37 out of 81 municipalities, including the capital Skopje, the electoral commission said.
The main opposition conservative VMRO-DPMNE of former prime minister Nikola Gruevski, which ruled in 56 municipalities, won only three in Sunday's polls.
In declaring victory early Monday, Zaev said it meant an end to the "nationalism" in Macedonia that marked the 10-year rule of his predecessor Gruevski.
"Having freely expressed their will, the people sent a message of support for the new government's policy -- a society for everyone as well as growth and development of the economy," Zaev told his supporters.
After a snap vote prompted by a deep two-year political crisis, Zaev took over as premier on June 1, in a first step towards ending the turmoil in the Balkans country.
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