SKOPJE, Macedonia – Macedonians will vote on Sunday in a general election called two years early in a bid to defuse a deep political crisis sparked by a wiretapping scandal.
The early election was agreed as part of a Western-brokered deal to address the crisis ignited last year after the leftist opposition accused the conservative government of large-scale illegal wiretapping and published audio recordings that indicated corruption at high government levels.
Conservative Nikola Gruevski, prime minister since 2006, stepped down earlier this year as part of the deal. Still, he is favored to finish ahead of left-wing rival Zoran Zaev and be positioned to lead a coalition.
Nearly 1.8 million are registered to vote Sunday. Polls open at 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) and close at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT).