North Macedonia elected its first woman president Wednesday as the governing Social Democrats suffered historic losses in twin presidential and parliamentary elections.

Conservative-backed Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, a 70-year-old law professor, was declared the winner after receiving nearly 65% support with more than two-thirds of the vote counted in a presidential runoff. “Is there a bigger change than electing a woman as president?” Siljanovska-Davkova told party supporters. “I will stand with women in taking this great step forward, a step towards reform.”

NORTH MACEDONIA VOTES IN PRESIDENTIAL RUNOFF, PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

Incumbent Stevo Pendarovski conceded after garnering just over 29% of the vote. Siljanovska-Davkova was backed by the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, which made sweeping gains on popular discontent over the country’s slow path toward European Union membership and its sluggish economy. A coalition led by VMRO-DPMNE was ahead with nearly 43% in the parliamentary election, while the Social Democrat-led coalition that has held power for the least seven years struggled to hold onto second place with 14.8.% – just ahead of a group of parties led by the ethnic Albanian minority party DUI.

North-Macedonia-Elections

Gordana Siljanovska Davkova, presidential candidate backed by the opposition center-right VMRO-DPMNE party, casts her ballot at a polling station in Skopje, North Macedonia, on Wednesday, May 8, 2024. Voters in North Macedonia were casting ballots on Wednesday in a parliamentary election and a presidential runoff dominated by issues including the country’s path toward European Union membership, corruption and the economy.  (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

Celebrations in the capital Skopje were muted by a thunderstorm that caused power outages. The conservative landslide win will be followed by power sharing talks for the control of the 120-seat parliament. But Social Democrat leader Dimitar Kovachevski, who served as prime minister from 2022 until early this year, conceded his party’s defeat late Wednesday in the parliamentary election and announced that he would stand down after a new leader is selected by the party. Victory for Siljanovska-Davkova makes her the first woman to hold the largely ceremonial post of president since the country gained independence from the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

The monthlong campaign focused on North Macedonia’s slow progress toward joining the 27-nation EU, the rule of law, corruption, fighting poverty and tackling the country’s flat economic growth.

VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski headed a 22-party coalition called “Your Macedonia” that accused opponents of ineptitude and making humiliating compromises in trying to settle disputes with North Macedonia’s neighbors. Mickoski, 46, told supporters that the incoming conservative-led government would make fighting corruption its priority. “Every last person who committed a crime and committed corruption will be held accountable,” he said. “The people have taught the government its most important lesson and saved their country … We have regained hope and tonight we have reason to celebrate.” NATO member North Macedonia has been a candidate to join the EU since 2005, but was blocked by successive disputes with neighbors Greece and Bulgaria as well as slow progress on some reforms required for membership to advance.

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia are also seeking membership.

Skopje resident Gordana Gerasimovski said she was disappointed that the country had been waiting for so long to join the EU, but hoped for real progress now.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“We should have been part of the European Union a long time ago,” she said. “This is what we are lacking, but we hope that with time we will get to where we have wanted to be for so long.”

More than 2,300 domestic and international observers were authorized to monitor the election.

source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Boy photographed playing in dust pile dies moments later: 'Tragic'

A 7-year-old boy in Brazil died moments after he played in a…

Army vet seeks to save Afghan commando stuck in Turkey, living in fear of Taliban

FIRST ON FOX: The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021 marked…

Russian Missile Hits Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, Killing 3

Three people were killed and nine others were injured after a Russian…

13 novelists announced as Booker Prize semifinalists

Author Sebastian Barry, who has received four previous nominations for the Booker…