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Macedonia: Opposition Wins Elections

Skopje, 16 September 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Opposition parties swept Macedonia's ruling coalition from power in the first elections since last year's armed uprising by ethnic Albanian rebels. Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski early today conceded defeat to the Social Democratic Union of Branko Crvenkovski (pictured). Georgievski extended congratulations to the moderate leftist opposition coalition of former Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski for coming out ahead in Sunday's vote.

The Democratic Party of Albanians, the junior partner in the governing coalition, has meanwhile conceded defeat to the Union for Democratic Integration, the party led by former ethnic Albanian rebel chief Ali Ahmeti.

The stage is now set for Ahmeti to join a new coalition government.

Official results of the elections are not expected to be released until later today. A spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Florin Pasniku, said the "general picture" of the elections is that they were calm with no major incidents. The OSCE is expected to release an official statement later today on whether the vote can be considered free and fair.