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Macedonia's Gruevski looks set for double election win, but...

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(Read caption) Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov, right, and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski greet supporters during a campaign rally in Gevgelija, southeastern Macedonia, last month. Both men are expected to retain power after balloting April 27.

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Macedonia’s government looks on course for a double election victory this month after incumbent conservative Gjorge Ivanov triumphed in the first round of presidential balloting on April 13. The second round on April 27 will coincide with a snap general election in which Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's party aims to secure reelection.

But Mr. Gruevski will face some tricky parliamentary arithmetic even if his party wins the vote as expected.

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Polls forecast another win for Gruevski, which the success of his ally, Mr. Ivanov, seems to confirm. But if Gruevski's VMRO-DPMNE party does not secure an absolute parliamentary majority, it will need to cast around for a coalition partner. It is at loggerheads with the opposition Social Democrats (SDSM) and is now estranged from the ethnic-Albanian DUI, its former governing partner. This leaves smaller parties or the DPA, another ethnic-Albanian party that is more hard-line – and thus antagonistic toward the ethnic-Slav VMRO-DPMNE – than the DUI. Thus, Gruevski may seek to patch up differences with his former partner.

If he remains prime minister, expect more of the same from Gruevski – further lobbying for NATO membership and a formal start to European Union accession negotiations, in the face of Greek opposition, as well as a pro-investment stance that has seen the World Bank rank Macedonia as the best business environment in the region.... For the rest of the story, continue reading at our new business publication Monitor Global Outlook.