North Macedonia’s pro-Western candidate wins presidential voteReuters #North_MacedoniaMay 6, 2019
The State Election Commission results based on 99.5 percent the votes counted showed 51.7 percent of the votes going to Pendarovski, who is the candidate of the ruling coalition and a long-serving senior civil servant and academic.
The victory puts more wind into the sails of the ruling coalition, which expects to get a date to start EU accession talks in June and become the 30th NATO member state next year.
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev congratulated Pendarovski and said, “As of today no one can stand in the way of progress.
“North Macedonia can count on the EU’s continued support for its EU accession perspective, thus responding to the strong European aspirations of its people,” Hahn tweeted.
Greece had for decades demanded that the tiny ex-Yugoslav republic change its name from Macedonia, arguing that it implied a territorial claim on a northern Greek province also called Macedonia.
In contrast to Pendarovski, Siljanovska-Davkova, a university professor, opposes the name change, although she is also pro-European Union.
The refusal of outgoing President Gjorge Ivanov, a nationalist, to sign some bills backed by parliament has delayed the implementation of key laws, including one on wider use of the Albanian language.
But Ivanov had no authority to block the constitutional amendments passed earlier this year by a two-thirds majority of parliament that enabled the name change to North Macedonia.
NATO and EU diplomacy pulled it back from the brink of civil war.