North Macedonians start voting in parliamentary elections, presidential runoff

Balkans
Wed, 8 May 2024 7:35 GMT
Post of president largely ceremonial, more attention is on parliamentary battle that could prove critical in how North Macedonia proceeds with regard to EU membership, pending since 2005.
North Macedonians start voting in parliamentary elections, presidential runoff

North Macedonian voters began casting their ballots in the parliamentary elections and a presidential runoff on Wednesday.

Some 1.8 million registered voters are expected to cast their ballots from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (0600-1800GMT) to elect 120 members for a four-year term in the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, the country’s unicameral parliament. Three more seats are reserved for expatriates.

They will also choose either Stevo Pendarovski or Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova as the next president.

Siljanovska-Davkova had an impressive run in the first round on April 24, finishing with over 41% of the vote, double the tally of incumbent President Pendarovski, who was at 20.5%.

That marked a significant shift in support for Siljanovska-Davkova, who is backed by the opposition conservative VMRO-DPMNE coalition and will become the country’s first woman president if she prevails in the second round.

It leaves Pendarovski and the ruling left-wing Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia heading into the current vote on the backfoot.

The turnout in the first round was just over 49%, well above the first phase of the 2019 presidential election. In the second round, turnout must be at least 40% for the result to be valid.

The post of the president is largely ceremonial in the country, so more attention is on the parliamentary battle that could prove critical in how North Macedonia proceeds with regard to its EU membership, which has been pending since 2005.

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