North Macedonia: Former PM sentenced to 1½ years in prison
SKOPJE – A criminal court in North Macedonia has sentenced former conservative prime minister Nikola Gruevski to 1 1/2 years in prison, and handed suspended sentences to six other party members and supporters for orchestrating violence in 2013. Gruevski, who was granted political asylum in Hungary after fleeing there in 2018 to avoid a separate two-year prison sentence for corruption, was sentenced Tuesday in absentia. North Macedonia authorities are still seeking his extradition. The six others who received suspended sentences include Gruevski's former transport minister. Four other cases are pending against Gruevski, who served as prime minister from 2006-2016, on charges of corruption, election irregularities and abuse of office.
Pro-Western party claims victory in North Macedonia election
The leader of the ruling SDSM party Zoran Zaev speaks after his victory at the North Macedonia general election, in Skopje, early Tuesday, July 16, 2020. Shortly afterwards, Social Democrats leader Zoran Zaev declared victory. Zaevs governing Social Democrats called the early parliamentary election when he resigned as prime minister in January after the European Union failed to give North Macedonia a start date for EU membership talks. The party has softened its earlier opposition to a landmark 2018 deal with Greece that saw the country change its name from Macedonia to North Macedonia, clearing objections for it to join NATO earlier this year. North Macedonia has had a caretaker government since his resignation as prime minister in January.
North Macedonia: Ballot boxes carried to quarantined homes
Members of a special election team with a ballot box and voting material make their way visiting voters who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are in self-isolation, in Skopje, North Macedonia, Monday, July 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)SKOPJE Election officials in North Macedonia carried ballot boxes to the homes of voters suffering from COVID-19 or in quarantine Monday, at the start of three days of voting in a general election that was delayed for months by the pandemic. North Macedonia is holding its first parliamentary election under its new country name, with voters heading to the polls during an alarming spike of coronavirus cases in this small Balkan nation. North Macedonia is one of the poorest countries in Europe with a per-capita GDP of about $6,100. Hungary granted him political asylum and North Macedonia is seeking his extradition.