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Government candidate wins presidential election

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Social Democrat Pendarovski becomes new head of state of Northern Macedonia. Thus, the country escapes an early parliamentary election. Observers found minor violations in the course of the vote.

The candidate of the ruling social democrats has won the runoff election for the presidency in northern Macedonia. Stevo Pendarovski received just under 52 percent of the vote. His opponent Gordana Siljanovska Davkova, supported by the conservative opposition party VMRO-DPMNE, scored 44 percent. This was announced by the electoral commission

„I will be a president for all citizens, no matter who they have voted for,“ said Pendarovski to cheering supporters in the Social Democrat party headquarters in Skopje. Pendarovski is a political professor and represents pro-Western positions.

The required turnout was achieved according to the head of the state electoral commission. It was 46 percent. If less than 40 percent voters had voted, the election would have been completely repeated.

The head of state has mainly ceremonial functions in northern Macedonia, but the election was considered a test of the government’s pro-Western policies.

Renaming at the center

At the center of the election campaign was the agreement with Greece that the former Macedonia would change its name to be admitted to NATO and possibly also the European Union. The 55-year-old Pendarovski is in favor. His 63-year-old adversary, on the other hand, said she would respect the new country name in an official capacity, but not use „personal“ and will do her best to show that there are serious problems with the agreement with Greece.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev had said that he would start an early parliamentary election if Pendarovski was not elected. The term of office of current President Gjorge Ivanov ends on 12 May. Election observers reported a small number of minor violations. For example, voters photographed ballot papers on mobile phones and outside some polling stations there had been riots.