AP NEWS

Macedonia’s president-elect to focus on EU accession drive

May 6, 2019
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Stevo Pendarovski, a presidential candidate of the ruling coalition led by the Social-democrats, celebrate his victory on the presidential election, in Skopje, North Macedonia, late Sunday, May 5, 2019. Partial returns in North Macedonia's runoff presidential election Sunday show the pro-government candidate, Stevo Pendarovski, leading his conservative rival by about 9 percent in a vote seen as a test of the center-left government's pro-West policies despite the largely ceremonial duties of the country's head of state.(AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — North Macedonia’s president-elect says his first task in coming weeks after assuming his post will be to lobby European Union leaders in Brussels to approve the start of his country’s accession talks in June.

Stevo Pendarovski, backed by North Macedonia’s center-left government, prevailed over conservative rival Gordana Davkova Siljanovska in a tightly-contested runoff election Sunday.

He also pledged late Sunday to begin his presidency by signing off on a package of bills approved by parliament that outgoing president Gjorge Ivanov has refused to sign because of his opposition to a deal with Greece that saw the country renamed North Macedonia, from Macedonia, earlier this year.

Ivanov’s second and final term ends on May 12.