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Macedonians Head To The Polls

Prime Minister Crvenkovski won the first round of voting two weeks ago 28 April 2004 -- Polls opened in Macedonia today in the second round of presidential elections to choose a successor to former President Boris Trajkovski, who was killed in a plane crash in February.

Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski won the first round with about 42.5 percent of the vote, short of the 50 percent needed to win the election outright. His closest rival was Sasko Kedev, a fellow ethnic Macedonian, who garnered 34 percent.

Many analysts have expressed doubt that today's election will achieve the 50 percent turnout required for it to be valid, as Macedonia's ethnic Albanian community -- which constitutes about one quarter or the country's 2 million population -- is not expected to turn out in large numbers because the two ethnic Albanian candidates were eliminated in the first round of voting.

In a bid to win the ethnic Albanian vote, Crvenkovski has forged an alliance with a key ethnic Albanian party, the Democratic Union for Integration.