April 28, 2014 / 2:50 PM / 6 years ago

Macedonia's disputed elections were orderly: OSCE

A man casts his ballots during presidential and early parliamentary elections in Skopje April 27, 2014. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski

SKOPJE (Reuters) - Macedonia’s parliamentary and presidential elections were “efficient and orderly” but campaigning before the vote did not create a level playing field for all, European election monitors said on Monday.

The ruling conservative VMRO-DPMNE party won both votes held in the small ex-Yugoslav republic on Sunday. The main opposition party, the center-left SDSM party, said it would not recognize the results and its leader, Zoran Zaev, said there were “threats and blackmails and massive buying of voters”.

The ruling party dismissed the allegations as an attempt by the opposition to manipulate public opinion.

Geert-Hinrich Ahrens of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) told reporters in Skopje the run-up to the vote “failed to meet the OSCE commitments, including the separation of state and party, ensuring a level playing field, neutrality of the media, accuracy of voter lists.”

“All of this, unfortunately, overshadowed the election day, which did meet the commitments and was orderly and peaceful,” he told a news conference.

Another OSCE official, Christine Muttonen, told the same news conference the elections were “efficiently administrated and the citizens were offered a free choice in this election”.

The state electoral commission said on Monday VMRO-DPMNE had won 61 seats and its coalition partner, DUI, another 19 seats, giving them a comfortable majority in the 123-seat parliament. The opposition SDSM will have 34 deputies.

It also confirmed that the VMRO-DPMNE presidential candidate, incumbent head of state Gjorge Ivanov, had beaten his Social Democrat rival to win another term in the largely ceremonial role.

Reporting by Kole Casule; Writing by Zoran Radosavljevic; Editing by Tom Heneghan

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