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Macedonian president wins first round of election

Monday - 4/14/2014, 11:06am  ET

An elderly ethnic Albanian woman, right, is helped by a relative to casts her ballot for the presidential elections in Skopje, Macedonia, on Sunday, April 13, 2014. Macedonia votes on the fifth presidential elections since the country's independence. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) -- Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov has emerged as the front-runner for a second term after taking the lead in the first round of presidential elections in the Balkan country.

According to results posted on the state election commission web site Monday, Ivanov, backed by the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, got 51.6 percent of the votes in Sunday's election. Ivanov's closest rival, Social Democrat candidate Stevo Pendarovski, received 37.5 percent. A runoff will be held on April 27, along with early parliamentary elections.

Ethnic Albanians, who make up a sizeable minority in the country, mostly boycotted the vote and turnout stood at 48.87 percent.

International election observers said the election was well run but criticized "biased and unbalanced media coverage" and expressed concern over the ethnic Albanian boycott.

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