SKOPJE, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- According to the initial results published by the Macedonian State Election Commission on Monday, SDSM won 37 mayoral posts while their biggest opponents from VMRO-DPMNE secured victory in three municipalities.
A total of 45 municipalities in Macedonia voted Sunday to elect mayors in the first round of local elections in the country. DUI had two seats, Democratic Party of the Turks one seat, and independent candidates were elected in two municipalities.
In 35 municipalities, a second round will be organized in two weeks time between the two candidates with best results.
SDSM mayoral candidate in Skopje Petre Shilegov also declared victory in the first round of elections. "The results is a great honor for me, but it is even bigger responsibility. The administration that I will lead will be a true service to citizens," Shilegov said at a press conference on Monday.
Voters on Sunday also elected members of local councils throughout the country.
Some experts say that the convincing victory might provoke Macedonian Prime Minister Zaev to go for premature parliamentary elections.
"I think that these elections could happen as early as the coming year. SDSM would want to ride this wave of public support and take over the majority in the parliament," political analyst Vladimir Bozinovski told Xinhua in Skopje.
Currently SDSM leads the minority government supported with the votes of the two coalition parties: DUI and the Alliance of the Albanians.
In a written statement on Monday, the Macedonian government called the election process as "fair and democratic."
The leader of VMRO-DPMNE Nikola Gruevski in his statement on Sunday after the elections noted cases of bribery of voters, pressures, manipulations with the ballots, as well as stealing of votes. He announced that his party would issue complaints on all registered irregularities, but also admitted on bearing the "highest responsibility" for the outcome. Enditem