North Macedonia starts month-long presidential campaign season

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Gordana Siljanovska Davkova, presidential candidate for the opposition conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, talks to the media after voting for the presidential election, in Skopje, North Macedonia, May 5, 2019. (AP)

SKOPJE, North Macedonia, April 4, (AP): North Macedonia’s presidential race kicked off on Thursday, with seven candidates vying for the largely ceremonial post in a two-round vote that will conclude on May 8.
The official start to campaign season means the candidates are allowed to make campaign speeches, hold rallies and present their agendas.
The first round of the presidential election is scheduled for April 24, after which the two leading candidates will face each other in a second round that will coincide with the general election on May 8.
Current polls are led by incumbent President Stevo Pendarovski, seeking a second five-year term with support from the governing social democrats; and Gordana Siljanovska Davkova of the main opposition center-right VMRO-DPMNE coalition, who also sought the presidency in the previous election in 2019.
Other candidates include law professor Biljana Vankovska, who’s running for the leftist party Levica, and two members of the country’s ethnic Albanian minority: current Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani from the Democratic Union of Albanians, which is part of the governing coalition; and Arben Taravari from an opposition ethnic Albanian party.
The other two candidates are Mayor Maksim Dimitrievski of the northern town of Kumanovo, and Mayor Stevco Jakimovski of Karpos, a municipality in the capital Skopje.
The presidential election in North Macedonia uses a two-round system under which a candidate must receive over 50% of the vote from a total of all 1.8 million registered voters. In the second round, the turnout must be at least 40% for the result to be valid.

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