By Talha Ozturk
BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – The alliance led by the ruling Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) secured 35.89% of all votes to win North Macedonia’s July 15 snap parliamentary vote, according to official results announced on Saturday.
The pro-EU SDSM, which has been in power since June 2017, was in an electoral alliance with the center-right ethnic Albanian party BESA Movement, as well as representatives and parties of the Turkish, Bosniak, Roman, Ulah, and Serbian communities.
The alliance secured 46 seats in parliament, according to data released by North Macedonia's State Election Commission (DIK).
The data showed 943,750 people voted in the election, amounting to 52% of the country’s over 1.81 million registered voters.
More than 1,500 candidates from 15 political alliances were running for a spot in the 120-seat parliament.
The alliance led by the opposition Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization - Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) won 34.57% of the votes and gained 44 seats, the DIK reported.
The Democratic Union for Integration won 15 seats with 11.48% of the votes, while the opposition Alliance for Albanians secured 8.95% of the votes and 12 seats.
Socialist party The Left gained two seats in parliament with 4.1% of the votes, while another opposition party, the Democratic Party of Albanians, got one seat with 1.53% of the polled votes.
Three Turkish political parties also participated in the elections, with the Turkish Democratic Party and the Turkish Movement Party being a part of the SDSM-led alliance, and the Turkish National Unity Movement joining the alliance led by VMRO-DPMNE.
Voting was carried out over three days due to the coronavirus outbreak, with the elderly, patients, and people diagnosed with COVID-19 able to vote from their homes or hospitals on July 13 and July 14.
Formerly known as Macedonia, the country changed its official name to North Macedonia in 2019, following 22 years of dispute with Greece, to move forward with its Euro-Atlantic integration.
North Macedonia has a population of little over 2 million and its main objective is gaining EU membership.