Macedonian Parliament approves 2014 state budget

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia's Parliament has approved the country's 2014 state budget, a year after clashes inside and outside the building marred the vote and prompted a three-month political crisis.

Lawmakers voted 68-27 in favor of the budget. The remaining 28 members of the 123-seat house were absent during Friday's peaceful ballot. The budget provides for average increases of five and seven percent, in state pensions and civil service pay, respectively. Overall, the Macedonian economy is projected to expand 3.2 percent, while the deficit is set to reach 3.5 percent of the country's annual gross domestic product, the same as this year's forecast.

Left-wing opposition lawmakers voted against the budget, accusing the government of wasteful spending. Last year's clashes left 11 police officers and at least three opposition lawmakers injured.

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