Macedonia stages poll re-run after election violence

The vote will be closely followed by the international community, which sees it another test of the republic's democratic credentials on the road to integration into the European Union.

Macedonia stages poll re-run after election violence
Voting began Sunday as Macedonia staged a re-run of general elections at nearly 200 polling stations where results were cancelled two weeks ago because of violence and irregularities.

The vote will be closely followed by the international community, which sees it another test of the republic's democratic credentials on the road to integration into the European Union.

The June 1 elections handed conservative Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski a landslide victory, but were tainted by violence in areas mainly populated by Macedonia's 25-percent ethnic Albanian minority.

In the most serious incident, one person was killed and several others wounded in a shootout at the village of Aracinovo, just north of the capital Skopje.

The unrest, the worst since Macedonia was on the brink of an all-out war between government and ethnic Albanian forces in 2001, was seen as undermining the country's ambitions to join the EU and NATO.

The fresh balloting, which takes place for 12 hours from 7:00 am (0500 GMT), will have no bearing on the overall outcome.

Gruevski's centre-right VMRO-DPMNE won more than twice the number of parliamentary seats on June 1 than its nearest rivals, the Social Democratic Union.

Macedonia has been an EU candidate since 2005 but is still waiting for a date for the adhesion talks to begin. Its efforts to join NATO were blocked earlier this year by Greece due to a dispute over the country's name, which is shared by a northern Greek region.

Agencies
Last Mod: 15 Haziran 2008, 13:51
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