The Crossroads

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North Macedonia’s right-wing opposition won the parliamentary and presidential elections Wednesday, with its first female president elected, amid dissatisfaction with the ruling Social Democrats (SDSM) and raising questions around North Macedonia’s stalled bid to join the European Union, Reuters reported.

With 92 percent of votes counted, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) party had taken at least 59 seats in the 120-seat parliament while the SDSM’s share fell to 19, Yahoo! reported.

The VMRO-DPMNE’s candidate Gordana Siljanovska Davkova defeated incumbent President Stevo Pendarovski of the SDSM, Bulgarian news website Novinte reported.

Initially met with optimism in 2005, the EU accession process has faltered, overshadowed by persistent issues of corruption and slow economic development. VMRO-DPMNE has capitalized on these grievances, pointing to stalled infrastructure projects in Skopje as emblematic of the government’s shortcomings.

In contrast, the SDSM emphasized the importance of EU integration, framing the election as a choice between continuing on a path toward the EU or moving backward.

Membership of the bloc has been stalled partly because of frictions with neighboring Greece and Bulgaria – both EU nations – but also a failure to pass economic and judicial reforms.

The electoral landscape is further complicated by the need for coalition building, with two ethnic Albanian parties likely to play a decisive role.

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