Macedonia has voted in what has been called the former Yugoslav republic’s last chance of a place in the international community. Seven candidates challenged for the presidency, including Professor George Ivanov, who had led the polls in the race for the largely-ceremonial post. Mayors and city councillors were also being chosen.
The election came a year after a chaotic parliamentary vote which left one person dead and several injured. Ethnic tensions however have eased since Macedonia seemed on the brink of civil war. NATO and the European Union had warned that any repeat of last year’s unrest would rule out talks on early membership. They had demanded fairness and transparency, with one Western diplomat saying the vote must simply be spotless.