Macedonia's Conservatives Narrowly Winning ElectionSoutheast Europe | December 12, 2016, Monday // 07:58| views
VMRO-DPMNE party, which has dominated Macedonian politics since 2006, has a 1.24% lead on socialist rival SDSM in Sunday's election, official results show.
With nearly all the vote counted, the party of former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski has got 37.98% of the vote.
Support for SDSM of Zoran Zaev is at 36.74%, according to the Central Election Commission (DIK)'s website.
Both parties have claimed victory before knowing the official results, with celebrations at their respective headquarters.
While Gruevski has described the result as the "tenth" win of his party over the social democrats in a row. "The crisis has to be over and Macedonia must move on. This will be our main goal," Utrinski vesnik quotes him as saying. This is a reference to the political deadlock gripping the country since early last year, when the SDSM released wiretapped recordings allegedly exposing the VMRO-DPMNE government's massive surveillance on the judiciary, media and others.
Zaev for his part has called the result a "historic moment" in which "life has won".
"The regime has fallen. You wrote history and you will have something to tell your children and grandchildren," he said while figures were still being processed.
The result, however means no single party has earned an independent majority that would allow it to form a government on its own.
VMRO-DPMNE's figures mean a coalition with its previous partner, the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) which represents mostly ethnic Albanias, will not be enough to create a stable majority.
The DUI has received 7.26% of the vote.
BESA, another ethnic Albanian party set up in November 2014, followed by the Albanians Alliance (2.96%) and the Democratic Party of Albanians (2.62%).
VMRO for Macedonia's result is at 2.06%.
Conservatives have come first in four of six election units. SDSM and DUI have got the biggest numbers of votes in one unit each, both regions being in the northwest.
Turnout is measured at almost 67%.
In 2014, Gruevski's edge was much wider, with conservatives winning 42.98% (and 61 seats) and social democrat rivals gaining 25.34% (at 34 seats).