SKOPJE, Macedonia – The winner of Sunday's Macedonian parliamentary elections has appeared before a criminal court in a hearing ahead of trial for allegedly inciting his conservative party's supporters to violence.
Former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, his former transport minister and 12 others have been charged over the violence during a 2013 demonstration outside the capital's central municipal offices. They will stand trial Feb. 22.
The Skopje court decided Friday not to accept key prosecution evidence from a recorded conversation in which Gruevski allegedly urged his minister to "find someone to slap" the mayor, an opposition member.
The tapes were released by Macedonia's main opposition party as evidence of a massive wiretapping scandal, which triggered a deep political crisis and led to Sunday's early election.