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OSCE Concerned About Irregularities In Macedonian Local Elections

Macedonians cast their ballots in local elections at a polling station in Skopje on March 24.
SKOPJE -- Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have expressed concern about local elections in Macedonia on March 24.

An OSCE statement on March 25 said “partisan media coverage and a blurring of state and party activities did not always provide a level playing field.”

OSCE observers said they received “credible allegations of voter intimidation and misuse of state resources throughout the campaign.”

The observers said further election law reforms are needed “to address gaps in the Electoral Code.” They said the State Election Commission worked efficiently and transparently, but sometimes made its decisions “along party or ethnic lines.”

With 99 percent of the votes counted, election officials said candidates from the ruling VRMO-DPMNE had won 54 out of 80 municipal contests.

The opposition SDSM was winning in seven municipalities.

Voter turnout topped 67 percent.