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Macedonian PM concedes defeat

Macedonia's President Boris Trajkovski casts his vote on Sunday
Macedonia's President Boris Trajkovski casts his vote on Sunday  

SKOPJE, Macedonia (CNN) -- Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski conceded defeat Sunday, admitting that the opposition had won a majority of the vote in the first general election since last year's peace deal that ended six months of bloody ethnic conflict.

"The people of Macedonia chose what they really wanted," said Georgievski, a Slavic nationalist, in a speech on national television. He added that his Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity was "80,000 votes behind the opposition."

Preliminary results showed the opposition coalition Together for Macedonia, an alliance of political parties led by Branko Crvenkovski, won at least 62 of 120 seats in the National Assembly.

Crvenkovski, a former Communist who heads the Social-Democratic Alliance of Macedonia, is now poised to be Macedonia's prime minister for the next five years.

Georgievski's party, known as VMRO, obtained just 31 seats, according to preliminary results.

Thousands of opposition supporters celebrated the outcome in the streets of Skopje, the capital of this former Yugoslav republic that became independent in 1991 and has since been plagued by ethnic strife. But no clashes between opposing parties or ethnic groups were reported Sunday.

CNN's Alessio Vinci reports on a deep sense of mistrust between ethnic Albanian and Macedonian party groups

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Sunday's election was the first to be held under a new law resulting from the August 2001 NATO-brokered peace agreement. The agreement contained several concessions to the Albanian minority and ended six months of civil war between the Macedonian army and ethnic Albanian rebels.

Among the Albanians, who make up a third of Macedonia's 2 million inhabitants, the clear winner was the Democratic Union for Integration led by Ali Ahmeti, who supports ethnic reconciliation.

Early results showed Ahmeti's party obtaining around 30 seats, dwarfing its main rival, the Democratic Party for Albanians -- a partner in the governing coalition -- which shrank from 11 seats to two.

CNN Producer Duda Djedovic contributed to this report




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