Macedonia holds its snap general election today following a walkout from parliament of the opposition Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) over an investigation on a TV station said to be supporters of their party.
The ruling Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) is expected to emerge the largest party once more but without an overall majority. If this is the case then they are likely to be forced to form a coalition, probably with one of the larger Albanian parties in the parliament.
In total some 1.8 million voters will be entitled to vote for 1,660 candidates from 18 parties for the 123 seat parliament. Voting will take place across 2,796 polling stations from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.
A recent poll conducted on 27th May gives the VMRO-DPMNE 26.9%, the SDSM 19.6% and the Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) 8.8%. The Democratic Party of Albanians is on 5.5%.
A number of issues were aired during what was an ill tempered campaign, but high unemployment and nearly one third of the country being below the poverty level is likely to influence voting. The ruling party says that it has weathered the world economic crisis whilst the opposition accuse them of poor economic management and chronic patronage.