01:27 GMT +316 October 2019
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    Ruling Party Candidate Leading North Macedonia's Presidential Election

    CC BY 2.0 / Ruben Holthuijsen / MacedonianFlag
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    BELGRADE (Sputnik) - Stevo Pendarovski, the joint candidate of North Macedonia's ruling Social Democrats and 30 other parties, is leading the presidential run-off, State Election Commission chief Oliver Derkoski said.

    "46.64 percent or 816,600 people voted. Candidate Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova received 363,900 votes, while Stevo Pendarovski received 423,000 or 51.83 percent," he said.

    The presidential election, which took place on Sunday, was the country's first vote after a deal between Athens and Skopje on the name change came into force, opening the door to Macedonia’s membership of the European Union and NATO. Yet, many Macedonians — including outgoing President Gjorge Ivanov, who is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term in office, — spoke against the name deal.

    READ MORE: Trump Asks Senate to Approve North Macedonia Joining NATO as 30th Member State

    The first round was held on April 21. Pendarovski secured a razor-thin lead over Siljanovska-Davkova, backed by the main opposition VMRO-DPMNE party. Both secured over 42 percent of votes.

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    presidential election, NATO, Stevo Pendarovski, Skopje, Athens, Greece, Macedonia, North Macedonia
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