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Macedonia prepares to vote for new president, parliament

English.news.cn   2014-04-26 18:57:52

SKOPJE, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Macedonians are set to cast two ballots on Sunday to elect a new president and parliament, which will be the second time in the history of Macedonia that presidential and parliamentary elections coincide.

In the first round of the fifth Macedonian presidential elections held on April 13, incumbent President Gjorge Ivanov won 51.6 percent of the vote against 37.5 percent for his Social Democrat rival Stevo Pendarovski.

An outright win in the first round in Macedonia requires a candidate to be supported by over 50 percent of the 1.8 million registered voters, but turnout in the first round was just over 50 percent.

The new president will be decided in the runoff between Ivanov of the ruling VMRO-DPMNE and Pendarovski from the opposition Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM). A president can be elected only if the turnout in the second round is at least 40 percent.

Analysts believe the results of the first round of the presidential election showed that the ruling VMRO-DPMNE is likely to win again, which means that VMRO-DPMNE will celebrate both Ivanov's re-election as well as a majority in the 123-seat parliament.

However, the oppositional SDSM hopes their campaign in the last two weeks will work in their favor.

In the wake of the first round, the SDSM complained of fraud, saying that "all options are opened" if fraud takes place again in Sunday's run-off.

The ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) party, a junior partner in the government, called on their voters to boycott the election after the ruling VMRO-DPMNE party refused their demand for a joint candidate.

Macedonia is a country of a little more than 2 million people, of which about 64 percent are Macedonians while 25 percent belongs to the ethnic Albanian community.

Since the republic declared independence in 1991 from former Yugoslavia, all Macedonian governments have been formed by one main ethnic Macedonian party (or coalition) in coalition with the ethnic Albanian party.

About 1.8 million citizens are eligible to vote at 3,480 polling stations across the country on Sunday.

Editor: Fu Peng
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