Former UN prisoner to run for Macedonia president

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A former Macedonian interior minister who spent more than three years in detention while on trial at a United Nations war crimes tribunal has announced that he plans to run for president.

Ljube Boskoski, 48, was the first person to officially announce his candidacy for the elections, which are to be held March 22.

Boskoski was welcomed as a hero in his native Macedonia in July after the UN tribunal in The Hague, acquitted him on several charges for war crimes.

Boskoski spent more than three years at the tribunal's detention unit on trial over a 2001 police attack on an ethnic Albanian village that killed seven people. He was detained in Croatia in August 2004 and then sent to the UN tribunal in March 2005.

The March presidential elections will be the fourth since Macedonia gained independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991 and officials say it will be crucial to the country's hopes of joining the European Union.

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