Macedonia closes polling stations, voter turnout at 49.14 pct

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-16 03:26:14|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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SKOPJE, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Macedonia closed Sunday evening, at 19:00h, all polling stations set up across the country for the local elections to elect mayor and local councils in 80 municipalities and the City of Skopje.

Nearly 1.8 million Macedonians were eligible to cast their ballots in the country's sixth local elections but according to the data provided by Macedonia's elections body at 17:00h, only 49.14 percent of citizens went to polls and cast their vote.

The ruling Social Democratic Union (SDSM) and the largest opposition party, VMRO_DPMNE were the main runners in these elections.

During the day, Macedonia's top officials appealed the citizens to cast their vote and have their say regarding the people who will administer their municipalities or communes for the next four years.

President Gjorge Ivanov said he expected the local polls to be quiet and democratic while he called for political maturity.

The Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi told reporters Sunday that the elections day should a day when the citizens made their right choice or the choice that provided a better future to them and their families.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev invited citizens to exert their constitutional right and vote for the country's Euro-Atlantic integration.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry said in a press conference that no serious violations of public peace and order had been reported throughout the Election Day.

However, the Public Prosecutor's Office informed Sunday afternoon that several reports over election irregularities had been filed to the prosecutors' offices.

"The prosecutors' offices are undertaking actions towards establishing the facts over the existence of elements of crimes committed against elections and voting," Prosecutor's office said in a press statement.

According to the Macedonian law, the members of the municipal councils throughout the country are elected in a single round, while mayors are elected with a majority vote.

The local elections in Macedonia were monitored by 5,011 domestic and 373 foreign observers, authorities here confirmed.

The preliminary results of the local polls are expected to be revealed early Monday while Macedonia is expected to hold the runoff elections on Oct. 29.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has said it will send more than 300 observers to Macedonia for the vote.

The most closely watched contest remains the mayoral battle in Macedonia's capital, Skopje.

SDSM candidate Petre Silegov runs against the incumbent Koce Trajanovski of VMRO-DPMNE who is seeking a third term.