Macedonians vote in early elections after wiretap scandal


SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Polls are open early Sunday in Macedonia for a general election called two years early.

The early election was part of a Western-brokered agreement to end a serious political crisis, which began when the opposition accused the conservative government of an illegal wiretapping operation that targeted 20,000 people.

Former conservative Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who had headed the government since 2006, is seeking a fresh mandate. His VMRO-DPMNE party leads a 25-party coalition called “For a Better Macedonia.” His main opponent is Zoran Zaev, who heads a left-leaning coalition called “For Life in Macedonia.”

Nearly 1.8 million registered voters are eligible to choose 123 lawmakers for the single-chamber parliament. Three seats are reserved for Macedonians living abroad.

Polls close at 7 p.m.