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VIOLENT ELECTIONS



National.

MACEDONIANS voted today in an election marred by a deadly shootout and reports of intimidation that saw polling suspended in some areas and drew expressions of concern from the European Union.

The parliamentary polls - Macedonia's fifth since independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 - were seen as a test of the landlocked Balkan state's democratic credentials and of its ambitions to join the EU and NATO.

Police said one person was killed and two others wounded after gunfire erupted when they were called to resolve a polling dispute in an ethnic Albanian village north of the capital, Skopje.

The electoral commission halted voting at about 20 polling stations around Aracinovo, a stronghold of Albanian rebels who fought government forces in 2001.

Nine people were arrested, police spokesman Ivo Kotevski said, adding that the incident involved activists of the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), which has been in opposition since the last elections in mid-2006.

Another gun battle left two wounded in the northern Cair municipality, and there were reports of stolen and stuffed ballot boxes in other ethnic Albanian populated regions.

The EU's executive arm, the European Commission, said it was "very concerned" by the violence and called for "calm and restraint", while EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana demanded polling be repeated in any affected areas.

The Macedonian government, while noting the tainted polling stations catered to just 1 per cent of the 1.7 million electorate, vowed that voting would be re-run wherever "violence, ballot rigging or other irregularities took place".

"It doesn't matter at all how much effort or resources will be needed. We will make sure it is all done properly, legally and, of course, with international monitoring," said government spokesman Ivica Bocevski.

Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski called the snap polls in the hope of securing an absolute majority for his conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, after his fragile coalition was shaken by a failed bid to enter NATO.

Erwan Fouere, the EU envoy in Macedonia, said the incidents were "deeply disturbing" and stressed "violence and intimidation have no place" in a democratic society.

About 13,000 police had been deployed to implement what Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska had vowed would be a policy of "zero tolerance" during polling.


MD: And another few steps away from the EU...

[The Australian]

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Why hide the truth? The violence originates from some sectors of the Albanian community and the whole country is paying for it. Albanians enjoy so many 'ethnic' concesions from Skopje that they sometimes act as a law unto themselves and not as responsible citizens of ROM. Republika Makedonija, remember, you are OK! -even if we disagree on the name issue. (Perhaps some Boskoski-style supporters also support violence, but they are few).

This Country is not for Nato not
for EU...
they have no Democracy keep them out
Fyrom is the Balcan Cancer...
Even the Albanians say to Greek
reporters

"Skopia is Skopia"
and Macedonia is in Greece

"skopia" does not exist.

you will not find "skopia" on a map, nor will any other country know what that is.

Skopje is the name of the capital city of the Republic of Macedonia which is the recognized name by over 100 countries.

Whether or not Greece has a problem with it, and decides to use a different name, does not make skopia or skopiani valid, Its derogatory and since when is racism seen as acceptable in this world.

Was it my fault that I was born in country that you dont like? Why do i have to suffer? What if your children grow up to marry a macedonian? You will say to yourself, that can never happen because we will teach our children to hate macedonians.

And you call yourself Christians.

You are wrong to believe that we don’t like your country. Off course, now there is tension between us but when all this comes to normal, we will be friends again. Of course I don’t share the opinion of 13:19 that you are the cancer of the Balkans. That is too much. But you must accept that your country is not ready for EU and NATO.

A country that people gets shot on elections and when there are questions about the reliability of the elections then, definitely, this country is not read for international organizations like NATO and EU.

My opinion? If Turkey is an EU candidate then you also deserve to be (even more) but you have to deal with the Albanian problem which seem to be more than you can handle.

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February 27 2010:
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