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Europe

Berlin Hopeful Macedonian Poll Will Bring Stability

Germany hopes the re-run of parliamentary elections in parts of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will bring stability to the country, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday, June 16.

Macedonia's current Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, greets supporters

Macedonia's current Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, greets supporters

The spokesman expressed the hope that the outcome of the vote on Sunday would help heal divisions in the nation of 2.1 million people.

About 25 percent of the population are ethnic Albanians and a large majority are ethnic Macedonians. The ethnic groups came close to civil war during violent clashes in 2001, which EU mediation ended.

The first round of voting on June 1 had to be aborted in about 190 election districts after violent clashes in the Albanian-dominated north-west that left one person dead.

Better, but not perfect

International monitors said that while the re-run was free of violence, the accompanying tension and intimidation meant it still did not meet some key standards.

The monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) welcomed a "considerable improvement" in the security situation, but added that "cases of tensions and intimidation remained evident in the run-up to and on June 15."

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