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FYR Macedonia looks set to re-elect conservatives for a third term

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FYR Macedonia looks set to re-elect conservatives for a third term

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Voters in the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia appear to have handed the conservative prime minister a third term in office.

With more than 60 percent of ballots counted Nikola Gruevski has a strong lead over the opposition Social Democrats with 43 percent.

The people of one of Europe’s poorest counties are also electing the largely ceremonial post of president and once again the incumbent Gjorge Ivanov appears set to remain in his job.

The conservatives in partnership with a minority Albanian party have run the country for eight years. They have over seen solid economic growth, but unemployment remains high and wages low.

The Social Democrats have accused them of abusing the entire state system and claim Sunday’s poll has been undermined by fraud and vote rigging.

Prime Minister Gruevski has dismissed the allegations accusing the opposition of trying to manipulate public opinion.

Macedonia’s bid to join the European Union remains hampered by Greek opposition to its name.