North Macedonia: Locals hit polls in first elections since name change

North Macedonians headed to the polls on Wednesday, to take part in the first parliamentary election since the Balkan country added «North» to its name early last year. Strict health and safety measures were observed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Residents of Skopje were seen casting their ballots, whilst keeping a distance between each other at the polling station, wearing face masks and disinfecting their hands. The country's former president, Gjorge Ivanov, was also spotted exercising his voting right alongside his wife. One of the voters, Zora Trajkovska, stated: «We came earlier to voting, everything was ok regarding the preventive measures against COVID virus, we cleaned our hands with disinfection on the entrance, we got our ballot out, all procedures were with distance, everything was ok.» Another local, Nace Nacev, also expressed his thoughts regarding the organisation saying: «I think the elections are very well organised, well attended, well controlled and will be successful.» The elections were originally scheduled for April 12 but were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The winner of this election will have to face not only the pandemic, but also the start of talks to join the European Union. Opinion polls show that the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia Party (SDSM) and the opposition party VMRO-DPMNE neck and neck.

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