From: Alice Taylir
North Macedonia Heads to Polls, Opposition Claims Victory

Macedonia’s opposition party VMRO-DPMNE has claimed victory in first round of the country’s local elections held on Sunday (17 October). They claimed outright victory in at least 20 mayoral races, despite results not being official.

In the capital of Skopje, it’s likely the race will head to a second round of voting between the incumbent Petre Silegov from the SDSM and independent candidate Danela Arsovska who is backed by VMRO-DPMNE.

In the Macedonian electoral system, unless a candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, a second election must be called between the two top contenders.

In addition to declaring 20 mayoral victories, VMRO-DPMNE also claimed more than 50 council races in the first round.

The ruling SDSM party headed by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said it was leading in 36 mayoral races. Zaev said he believes his party will come out on top once all votes have been counted.

The Albanian DUI party, in coalition with SDSM said they won three mayoral races and lead in several municipalities. The opposition Albanian party, the Alliance for Albanians and Alternative said they had won two mayoral races.

Preliminary estimates suggest that turnout was around 49%. Results are expected later today.