Macedonia Ruling Party Maintains Poll Lead

The main ruling VMRO DPMNE party of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski is holding on to public support, a poll by the Skopje-based Institute for Political Research, IPIS, suggests.Asked which party they would vote for, were an election held next week, 22.5 per cent of the respondents said they would vote for VMRO DPMNE and 16.5 per cent chose the main opposition Social Democrats.

Another 6.5 per cent opted for the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, which is in government, while their political rivals in the Albanian camp, the opposition Democratic Party of Albanians, DPA, would get 3.9 per cent.

Another 1.4 per cent opted for the second largest ethnic Albanian opposition party, the National Democratic Party, NDP.

Some 14 per cent said they would not vote for any of those parties, while 34.3 declined to answer.

According to the telephone survey, conducted from October 29 to November 1 on 1,115 respondents, Gruevski is the most popular politician in Macedonia with 23.3 per cent wanting him to remain Prime Minister.

Another 8.1 per cent chose the head of the opposition Social Democrats, Branko Crvenkovski. His party colleagues, Radmila Sekerinska and Zoran Zaev, got 4 and 3.6 per cent respectively.

The DUI head, Ali Ahmeti, got 6.2 per cent while the head of the DPA, Menduh Thaci, got 3.4 per cent.

The same opinion poll showed that 70.1 per cent of the respondents supported the government’s policy of increased subsidies for agriculture and 59 per cent believe that the government is doing a good job in attracting foreign investments. Another 54 per cent voiced approval of reforms to the public health system.

However, more than half of the respondents disapproved of the costly government-funded revamp of the capital, known as Skopje 2014.

The poll comes amid growing speculation about early general elections.

At an anti-government rally in Skopje last month, Macedonia’s joint opposition bloc called for early general elections to be held along with the March local polls.

Although the government dismissed the demand, there is speculation that the Prime Minister is preparing for a snap poll, hoping to catch the opposition unprepared.

Gruevski’s VMRO DPMNE party has been in power since 2006 and has won each general, local and presidential poll ever since.

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