NEWS

Athens tight-lipped on FYROM election violence

There was no official comment from Greece last night on the violence and suspected irregularities that marred yesterday’s parliamentary elections in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and prompted concern among Greek commentators about the potentially explosive situation in the neighboring country. One person was shot dead and nine wounded in FYROM’s ethnic Albanian areas and the electoral commission recorded instances of suspected fraud. The government in Skopje responded by saying that voting will be repeated in 22 polling stations that were shut down yesterday because of violence or allegations of fraud. Government spokesman Ivica Bocevski said that problems were reported at 1 percent of polling centers. As of late last night, the government in Greece had not made any official statement, despite an array of commentators appearing on television to express concern at the situation developing in Greece’s northern neighbor. PASOK’s spokesman for foreign affairs, Andreas Loverdos, suggested that some politicians in Skopje had fanned the flames by engaging in nationalistic rhetoric against Greece during their campaigns. «We Greeks were serious and stayed away from dangerous brinkmanship. From tomorrow, we hope that prudence will prevail so that the necessary compromise solution [to the name dispute] can be found.»