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North Macedonia: The opposition is taking the initiative at the moment

North Macedonia: The opposition is taking the initiative at the moment

In North Macedonia's presidential runoff elections, opposition candidate Gordana Siljanovska Davkova is leading.

According to the State Election Commission, the candidate of the national conservative party VMRO-DPMNE received 61.98 percent after 17 percent of the votes were counted. She is clearly ahead of the incumbent from the Social Democrats bloc, Stevo Pendarovski, who received 30.48 percent.

The Election Commission had previously announced that about 46 percent of those eligible to vote had participated in the runoff elections by 6:30 p.m., meaning that the required voter turnout of 40 percent had been achieved.

The social democrats are lagging behind

According to the party, with 14.2 percent of votes counted in Parliament, VMRO-DPMNE is also in a clear lead with 36,064 votes. The ruling Social Democrats (SDSM) remained even further behind with 11,320 votes. The state Election Commission said that voter turnout in the parliamentary elections reached 53.36 percent by 6:30 p.m.

Seljanovska-Davkova, who received 40% of the vote two weeks ago, could become North Macedonia's first female president. The current incumbent, Stevo Pendarovski, received nearly 20 percent of the votes in the first round. The basic condition for winning the runoff elections is the participation of 40 percent of those eligible to vote.

The new parliament is scheduled to be formed at the end of this month. During the election campaign, the leader of VMRO-DPMNE, Hristijan Mikuski, indicated his preference for the Albanian coalition Fredi as a future coalition partner. Ali Ahmeti's Albanian Democratic Integration Union, which has been in government for many years, will have to join the opposition for the first time.

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Towards or away from Europe?

VMRO-DPMNE has been known in recent years for its opposition to the country's new constitutional name – the Republic of North Macedonia – which resolved a long-standing dispute with Greece in 2018. The party also opposes any constitutional changes under “foreign dictates”. What is meant is constitutional recognition of the Bulgarian ethnic group. This is currently considered a prerequisite for starting accession talks with the European Union. The country has had accession candidate status since the end of 2005.

The ruling Social Democratic Party appealed to voters to use their votes to promote the “Road to Europe.” The lesson has been learned and the mistakes made will not be repeated, this was confirmed by the leader of the Social Democratic Movement, Dimitar Kovacevski, at the end of the election campaign. In a poll conducted in March, 66% of respondents described the Social Democratic government coalition as “unsuccessful.”

Polling stations remained open until seven in the evening. Nearly 2,000 local and foreign election observers will follow the elections. The OSCE Human Rights Office is present at the site and includes 410 observers and 14 experts. The first results of the elections are expected to appear on Thursday evening. (Abba)

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