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Macedonia's Conservatives Win Polls

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TEHRAN, June 6 (ICANA) – Preliminary results in Macedonia's early general elections indicate that the ruling rightist government has won a third term over the country's main opposition.
Monday, June 06, 2011 9:32:35 PM
Macedonia's Conservatives Win Polls

Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski claimed victory in Sunday's early elections against rival Social Democrats, the Associated Press reported.

"With pleasure, I can announce that the winner of these elections is VMRO-DPMNE and the Coalition 'For a better Macedonia.' We have won 55 seats [of its 123 seats] in the Parliament," Gruevski announced at his party's headquarters.

Preliminary estimates posted on the official website of the country's electoral commission indicate that nearly 82 percent of polling stations favored the VMRO-DPMNE conservative party, with 39.31 percent of the vote count, over the opposition Social Democrats, which received 32.71 percent of the tally.

Final results are to be released on Monday.

"The majority of people have recognized that in Macedonia a change happened in 2006 when a group of young politicians came to power," the Macedonian premier said.

Gruevski added that his government's main concerns would remain to be focusing on improving the country's economy, agriculture, investments and corruption record, while preserving mutual relations between ethnic groups, and joining the EU and NATO.

The early general elections were held a year before the end of Gruevski's four-year term, following a walkout by the country's opposition from the legislation in January. The walkout was carried out in response to the arrest and imprisonment of a popular Television station boss and the freezing of his bank accounts.

According to the country's Election Commission Director Boris Kondarko, the voter turnout from 86 percent of Macedonian polling stations was 63.30 percent. Macedonia has about 1.8 million eligible voters.

Macedonia gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.

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