Polls open for Macedonia's presidential elections

SKOPJE, Macedonia - Polling stations opened on Sunday morning in the first round of Macedonia's presidential elections, seen as a test for the critical early general elections of April 27.

The voting, which summons around 1.7 million eligible voters to the polls, will conclude at 16:00 GMT, with preliminary results expected to be announced at midnight.

Four candidates are competing in the first round, including incumbent conservative President Gjorge Ivanov of the coalition "For a Better Macedonia." The others are social democrat Stevo Pendarovski, liberal Zoran Popovski and pro-Albanian Ilaz Halimi.

Ivanov is the most likely candidate to win the elections according to latest opinion polls.

There will be a runoff on April 27 -- the day when parliamentary elections will be held -- if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the votes cast in the first round.

Sunday's ballot marks Macedonia’s fifth presidential election since gaining independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.

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