BELGRADE Fundamental freedoms were generally respected in Macedonia's parliamentary elections, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said, although observers witnessed a dozen cases of voter intimidation and pressure on civil servants.
The OSCE had 337 observers from 42 countries monitoring the poll, which resulted in a close finish between the conservative VMRO-DPMNE and the opposition Social Democrat SDSM. Final results have yet to be announced.
A free and fair election was essential to the landlocked Balkan republic's chances of entering accession talks with the European Union. Sunday's snap poll was called after the previous government stepped down amid allegations of corruption.
"The positive trends we observed now have to be turned into sustainable mechanisms," said the OSCE's parliamentary assembly delegation head on Monday. "All political forces need to work to ensure there is no backsliding into political crisis."
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; editing by John Stonestreet)