Thursday, May 23, 2024

Unsettled after the presidential election in North Macedonia

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The opposition’s candidate, Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, is in the best position after Wednesday’s round of the presidential election in North Macedonia. But there will be a new round of elections on 8 May. Photo: Boris Grdanoski / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 24.04.2024 23:22:47

Policy: Challenger Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova from the right-wing alliance VMRO-DPMNE was in the best position on Wednesday evening after the results from 70 percent of the polling stations had been counted.

But neither she nor incumbent President Stevo Pendarovski from the pro-European Social Democratic Party would get 50 percent of the votes cast, and thus there will be a round.

In third place in the presidential election is Bujar Osmani with around 15 per cent. He represents the party for North Macedonians of Albanian origin.

The election to the ceremonial post of president is seen as a dress rehearsal for next month’s parliamentary election, where the opposition will do its utmost to topple the centre-left government.

The seven presidential candidates have argued in the election campaign about a key condition for North Macedonia to become an EU member: the recognition of the country’s Bulgarian minority in the constitution.

Optimism was high in 2005 when North Macedonia became a candidate country, but 19 years later the process has apparently stalled. In 2017, it was agreed to change the name from Macedonia to North Macedonia to end the dispute with Greece. But in 2020, Bulgaria vetoed it, citing historical and linguistic reasons that North Macedonia could not become a member.

The turnout was late on Wednesday measured at just under 50 percent, according to the European Commission’s election observers.

(© NTB)

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