Saturday, July 08, 2006

U.S. Congratulates Macedonia on Parliamentary Election

Election observers note "isolated" voting problems in former Yugoslav republic

The United States has congratulated the citizens of Macedonia for July 5 successful parliamentary elections, which independent monitors said largely met international standards despite isolated problems.

A coalition of opposition conservative parties, VRMO-DPMNE, received more seats in Macedonia's parliament than the ruling Social Democrat coalition, according to news reports. Neither coalition won a majority of parliamentary seats.

"We note the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's [OSCE's] initial assessment that the elections largely met international standards," U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement July 6.

"We welcome the evident will of the people of Macedonia to elect their representatives in an orderly and transparent process," McCormack said. "We also note that there were isolated cases of irregularities. These cases should be fully investigated and dealt with in accordance with Macedonian law."

McCormack said the United States "will continue to support its friend and partner Macedonia on the path of Euro-Atlantic integration." The European Union (EU) formally made Macedonia a candidate for EU membership in December 2005. (See related article.)

About 380 observers monitored the election on behalf of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. The OSCE chairman in office, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht, welcomed the overall conduct of the voting compared to previous elections. However, he said the campaigns leading up to the July 5 balloting had been marred by "acts of violence and intimidation." He called on Macedonian authorities to investigate "thoroughly" reports of isolated irregularities.

The former Yugoslav republic has a population of about 2 million.

Source: U.S. Department of State

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