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North Macedonia’s Social Democrats grab slim victory as hackers attack election commission

North Macedonia’s Social Democrats grab slim victory as hackers attack election commission

The Social Democrats have eked out a razor-thin win over their nationalist rivals in North Macedonia, according to official election results. The vote on Wednesday was the first parliamentary election since the Social Democrats added ‘North’ to the Balkan country’s name last year. The move ended a decades-old dispute with Greece, ushered the Balkan state into NATO and opened the door to future EU membership.

Lacking an outright majority with only 35.8 percent of the vote, the center-left Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) will now face tough coalition talks to form a government, AFP reported. The top options are parties representing the ethnic Albanian minority, who make up about 25 percent of the two-million-strong population.

The right-wing VMRO-DPMNE is just behind, with 34.5 percent of the vote. That party is formally pro-EU but has been critical of the name deal, lambasting it as “treason.”

The website of the State Electoral Commission suffered an alleged denial-of-service (DDoS) attack for more than three hours during the elections. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by hacker group ‘Anonymous Macedonia’. It left a message on the website, citing “empty promises from all political parties in this beautiful country,” according to Balkan Insight.