2006 Macedonian parliamentary election
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The international community sent 6,000 observers to monitor electoral procedures, as NATO and European Union officials saw the elections as a key test of Macedonian ambitions of joining both organizations after local elections in March 2005 were marred by irregularities. The campaign was marked by serious cross-political confrontations, occasionally resulting in violence, mainly between the two major ethnic Albanian parties, the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) and the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA). The situation was seen as seriously tarnishing the international reputation of the country. As the confrontations between the ethnic Albanian parties intensified, a diplomatic offensive from Western officials took place to put an end to the irregularities. These efforts were supported by the ethnic Macedonian parties, but also by calls from the Albanian and Kosovan prime ministers. However, the situation did not improve significantly. On 22 June 2006 there were clashes between the two major ethnic Macedonian parties VMRO-DPMNE and the SDSM in the center of Skopje.
The representatives of the EU and the United States continued with their efforts to stop the irregularities. NATO warned the Macedonian government that pre-election violence risked delays to the country's ambitions to join the military alliance. Problems within the Macedonian bloc stopped immediately, and incidents between the Albanian parties also progressively stopped. The last week of the campaign was calm, with almost no incidents. There were no major problems on election day, with only minor irregularities in the western part of the country. The counting of the votes also passed almost without any objections. The Macedonian government, the European Union and the United States dubbed the elections "a success".
The results showed a clear victory for the coalition led by VMRO-DPMNE, which won 45 of the 120 seats. The centre-left coalition led by the SDSM won 35 seats. The majority of Albanian votes went to the DUI–PDP coalition (17 seats), while the DPA won 11 seats. Other parties that won seats included the New Social Democratic Party (7 seats), VMRO-NP (6 seats), Democratic Renewal of Macedonia (1 seat) and the Party for European Future (1 seat).
After unsuccessful negotiations between VMRO-DPMNE and DUI, VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski decided to form a government with the DPA. After a tough negotiation process (especially between VMRO-DPMNE and NSDP), in August 2006 Gruevski announced that the new government would be composed of VMRO-DPMNE, DPA, NSDP, DOM, and PEI, with the coalition partners holding 65 of the 120 seats in parliament.
The DUI-PDP coalition started protests throughout the Albanian-dominated parts of the country due to their exclusion from the coalition. In May 2007, the PDP accepted Gruevski's offer to join the government, and in June the PDP became a coalition partner.