Voters in Macedonia went to the polls earlier this month in the second round of nationwide Presidential and local elections. Gjorge Ivanov, candidate of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity, defeated former minister Ljubomir Frckovski, candidate of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia.
The preliminary assessment of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, or ODIHR, is that both the campaign and the conduct of the voting on March 22 and April 5 met most key international standards. The United States agrees with ODIHR's preliminary report that these elections represent a significant improvement over the June 2008 Parliamentary elections.
Robert Wood, Acting Deputy Spokesman for the U.S. Department of State said the United States congratulates President-elect Ivanov and looks forward to working with him and his team on the critical issues ahead for Macedonia and the region.
There remain, however, areas of concern for Macedonia to address stemming from the polls. The voter list must be updated so that it more accurately reflects the voting populace in the country. The civil service must be depoliticized. And credible allegations of economic intimidation, manifested by threats against employment and/or benefits must be investigated.
However, Macedonia's overall positive conduct of the elections is a welcome step that will help advance Macedonia's Euro-Atlantic integration aspirations.