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Macedonia court finds opposition leader guilty of slandering PM

[JURIST] A court in the Republic of Macedonia [BBC backgrounder] on Wednesday found Zoran Zaev, the leader of the country's main opposition party, guilty of slandering Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. According to the private lawsuit filed by the prime minister, Zaev, leader of the Social-Democrat party, falsely claimed [Reuters report] that Gruevski took a bribe in 2004 to facilitate a Serbian businessman's purchase of a bank in Macedonia. Zaev's attorney has already announced plans to appeal. The court ordered Zaev to pay €50,000 (USD $65,700) in damages.

Gruevski [Economist profile] is a member of the VMRO-DPMNE party [party website, in Macedonian], and first became prime ninister in 2006. He was reelected in 2008, 2011 and 2014, but his relations with the Social-Democratic party have become tumultuous. In past elections, the opposition party alleged that Gruevski committed electoral fraud [Reuters report] and misuse of state resources.

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