- Title: Party leaders vote in Macedonia's snap parliamentary election
- Date: 11th December 2016
- Summary: STRUMICA, MACEDONIA (DECEMBER 11, 2016) (REUTERS) ****WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** SOCIALIST DEMOCRATIC UNION OF MACEDONIA (SDSM) LEADER, ZORAN ZAEV, ENTERING POLLING STATION WITH WIFE ZORICA ZAEV POLLING STATION WORKING LOOKING THROUGH VOTER ROLL WITH PHOTOS ZAEV REGISTERING TO VOTE AND SIGNING VOTER REGISTRATION PAPERS ZAEV WALKING TOWARDS VOTING BOOTH ZAEV AT VOTING BOOTH ZAEV WALKING TOWARDS BALLOT BOX HAND HOLDING BALLOT PAPER / ZAEV AND WIFE STANDING BY BALLOT BOX ZORICA ZAEV CASTING BALLOT / ZORAN ZAEV AND WIFE WALKING TOWARDS EXIT ZAEV AND WIFE ZORICA WALKING TOWARDS JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (Macedonian) SOCIALIST DEMOCRATIC UNION OF MACEDONIA (SDSM) LEADER, ZORAN ZAEV, SAYING: "This is a historic day for our citizens and for Macedonia. Today we are choosing a better life and unity in our country. Today we are choosing a progressive, free and united Macedonia. The first test for this will be citizens' expressions of their free choice and I hope it will indeed be this way." (SOUNDBITE) (Macedonian) SOCIALIST DEMOCRATIC UNION OF MACEDONIA (SDSM) LEADER, ZORAN ZAEV, SAYING: "I will declare victory tonight." ZAEV AND WIFE GETTING INTO CAR / CAR DRIVING AWAY SKOPJE, MACEDONIA (DECEMBER 11, 2016) (REUTERS) NIKOLA GRUEVSKI, LEADER OF MACEDONIA'S RULING VMRO-DPMNE PARTY, AND WIFE BORKICA ENTERING POLLING STATION GRUEVSKI FILLING IN BALLOT PAPER GRUEVSKI CASTING BALLOT GRUEVSKI GETTING OUT OF POLLING STATION AND WALKING TOWARDS MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (Macedonian) LEADER OF MACEDONIA'S RULING VMRO-DPMNE PARTY, NIKOLA GRUEVSKI, SAYING: "I would like to reiterate one more time and especially considering what was happening in the past two-and-a-half years, this is a day when citizens have to express their own opinion and to come out in large numbers to polling stations to exercise their right to vote and give their opinion on what direction Macedonia should go in." GRUEVSKI WALKING AWAY FOLLOWED BY MEDIA
- Embargoed: 26th December 2016 14:53
- Keywords: Macedonia election Gruevski Zaev Nikola Gruevski Zoran Zaev Strumica Skopje
- Location: STRUMICA AND SKOPJE, MACEDONIA
- City: STRUMICA AND SKOPJE, MACEDONIA
- Country: Macedonia
- Reuters ID: LVA0015CFVKG7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Macedonia's veteran nationalist leader, Nikola Gruevski, and his main challenger, Zoran Zaev, cast their ballots on Sunday (December 11) in a general election seen as crucial for the country's European future.
Gruevski is seeking re-election almost a year after his government stepped down amid protests over alleged corruption.
Most recent opinion polls have shown a lead for his centre-right VMRO-DPMNE - the party that has led governing coalitions in the former Yugoslav republic for the best part of a decade.
His main challenger is the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) whose leader, Zoran Zaev, accused the government last year of wiretapping tens of thousands of citizens and released recordings appearing to implicate the government in corruption. Gruevski denied any wrongdoing.
A caretaker government is currently in place, under the terms of an EU-brokered deal to end the political crisis in the landlocked nation of 2.1 million people.
Eleven parties and coalitions are running, including four representing the ethnic Albanian community, which accounts for around a third of the population. Traditionally, an Albanian party joins a coalition government as junior partner.
The polls close at 1800 GMT. Preliminary results are expected after 2000 GMT, and a final result on Tuesday.
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