North Macedonia’s president-elect says his first task in coming weeks after assuming his post will be to lobby European Union leaders in Brussels to approve the start of his country’s accession talks in June.

Stevo Pendarovski, backed by North Macedonia’s center-left government, prevailed over conservative rival Gordana Davkova Siljanovska in a tightly-contested runoff election Sunday.

He also pledged late Sunday to begin his presidency by signing off on a package of bills approved by parliament that outgoing president Gjorge Ivanov has refused to sign because of his opposition to a deal with Greece that saw the country renamed North Macedonia, from Macedonia, earlier this year.

Supporters of the ruling coalition led by the Social-democrats celebrate the victory of their presidential candidate Stevo Pendarovski, at the party headquarters in Skopje, North Macedonia, late Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Supporters of the ruling coalition led by the Social-democrats celebrate the victory of their presidential candidate Stevo Pendarovski, at the party headquarters in Skopje, North Macedonia, late Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

Ivanov’s second and final term ends on May 12.

Stevo Pendarovski, a presidential candidate of the ruling coalition led by the Social-democrats, celebrate his victory on the presidential election, in Skopje, North Macedonia, late Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Stevo Pendarovski, a presidential candidate of the ruling coalition led by the Social-democrats, celebrate his victory on the presidential election, in Skopje, North Macedonia, late Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Supporters of the ruling coalition led by the Social-democrats, wave the national and EU flags, celebrating the victory of their presidential candidate Stevo Pendarovski, at the party headquarters in Skopje, North Macedonia, late Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Supporters of the ruling coalition led by the Social-democrats, wave the national and EU flags, celebrating the victory of their presidential candidate Stevo Pendarovski, at the party headquarters in Skopje, North Macedonia, late Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Stevo Pendarovski, center, a presidential candidate of the ruling coalition led by the Social-democrats, celebrate his victory in the presidential election, in Skopje, North Macedonia, late Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Stevo Pendarovski, center, a presidential candidate of the ruling coalition led by the Social-democrats, celebrate his victory in the presidential election, in Skopje, North Macedonia, late Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

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