Polls are open in Macedonia for a general election considered to be an important test of the country's viability for membership in the European Union and NATO.

Voters are casting ballots Wednesday following a campaign marked by shootings and grenade attacks against ethnic-Albanian party offices in the western region of Tetovo.

The European Union, NATO, and the United States have warned against election violence. Tensions are still simmering five years after an uprising by Macedonia's ethnic-Albanian minority for more civil and political rights.

Pre-election opinion surveys indicated a tight race between the Social Democrats of Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski and the main nationalist opposition party, the V.M.R.O.-D.P.M.N.E.

Macedonia hopes to join NATO in 2008 and later, the European Union.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.