North Macedonia’s local elections put government coalition to the test

North Macedonia on Sunday (17 October) held local elections. [EPA-EFE / GEORGI LICOVSKI]

North Macedonia on Sunday (17 October) held local elections, which will be a test for the government coalition of Social Democrats (SMSD), led by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Albanian party DUI.

Polling stations closed at 7:30 pm, 30 minutes after the envisaged time. The State Election Commission (SEC) said that was the way to allow people to vote who were in the line waiting to enter the polling station. This could be a disputable decision if the opposition’s vote falls below expectations.

During the election campaign, Hristian Mickoski, the leader of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE, made serious allegations of “corruption of the state by Zoran Zaev and his entourage”. The SEC informed that 49.29% of people had voted by 6 pm.

According to the first unofficial results announced by SEC, VMRO-DPMNE prevails in a number of large municipalities in the country. In contrast, according to all indications, the battle for the metropolitan municipality of Skopje will be judged in the second round.

In cases where no candidate manages to get more than 50% from the first round, a second-round will be organised on 31 October, with the participation of the two leading candidates of the first round.

Mickoski spoke of a “great victory” for his party, while Zaev expressed optimism that his party would prevail in the second round of municipal elections.

(Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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