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North Macedonia Holds Runoff Elections Seen As A Test For The Government


North Macedonia Concludes Local Elections With Mayoral Runoffs
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North Macedonia Concludes Local Elections With Mayoral Runoffs

North Macedonia held runoff elections on October 31 that were seen as a test for the leftist national government after the center-right opposition won more municipalities than the ruling social democrats in the first round of voting two weeks ago.​

The main battleground in the Balkan country's vote on October 31 was the capital, Skopje, where incumbent Mayor Petre Shilegov from the ruling Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) was being challenged by Danela Arsovska of the opposition Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian Unity (VMRO-DPMNE).

Runoff elections were also held in Bitola, Tetovo, Ohrid, and Gostivar.

The opposition party won 21 municipalities to the SDSM's nine during the first round of voting.

A total of 33 mayors were elected in the first round. Another 47 posts were up for grabs in the second round. Ethnic Albanian parties, including the Democratic Union for Integration, a junior coalition partner in the leftist government, were competing for more than a dozen mayoral posts.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, the SDSM leader, urged people to vote in large numbers, saying the mayoral race in Skopje was key to implementing his cabinet vision and policies.

Election authorities have introduced new terminals that use fingerprints to identify voters. There were some issues with voters understanding the system on October 17.

First results are expected on November 1.

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