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Leftist Candidates Dominate Local Elections in Macedonia

Supporters of the ruling Social Democratic Union of Macedonia wave a Macedonian flag during victory celebrations for the local elections in Skopje, Macedonia, Oct. 16, 2017.

Candidates supported by Macedonia's left-led government have dominated local elections, preliminary results from Sunday's runoff show.

Results on the state electoral commission's website Monday gave government-backed candidates victory in 57 of 81 municipalities, including the capital, Skopje.

Candidates backed by the main opposition VMRO-DPMNE conservatives won five posts.

The election took place amid bitter rivalry between Prime Minister Zoran Zaev's new Social Democrat-led government and VMRO-DPMNE, which had governed for a decade.

The first round was held Oct. 15. Past elections in Macedonia have been marred by claims of vote-rigging or voter intimidation.

But the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which monitored the elections, said the second round of voting showed ``respect for fundamental freedoms.''