Zaev resigns as Prime Minister and President of the Socialist Party after the new defeat in the second round of the local elections

Zaev resigns as Prime Minister and President of the Socialist Party after the new defeat in the second round of the local elections

Developments in North Macedonia are storming ahead after Zoran Zaev’s ruling Social Democratic Party (SDSM) suffered a crushing defeat in the second round of municipal elections held yesterday, Sunday.

Zoran Zaev said late last night that he takes responsibility for his party’s defeat and resigned as Prime Minister of the country and as leader of his party.

“Together with the citizens we brought freedom and democracy and when there is democracy there is responsibility. I resign as prime minister of North Macedonia and as president of the Social Democratic Union,” Zaev said.

SDSM leader Zoran Zaev congratulated Danela Arsovska on her victory as mayor of Skopje and announced that he takes responsibility for the election defeat.

“Even in such circumstances, I remain of the opinion that there should not be early parliamentary elections,” Zaev said, adding that he would stay on until a new government is formed. He announced that he remains committed to the party in the coming period.

“There are two and a half unique years of work and economic success that will benefit all our people and the country. I will stay on this term to help reorganize the new government with a progressive majority that has and is in place and can grow. “Personally, as a person, I am part of SDSM and the progressive people and I remain on the front line,” the prime minister said.

He said he was proud of bringing North Macedonia into NATO and believes that in a few months we have the opportunity to start negotiations with the EU. He also cited the successful census, before expressing disappointment that there was a visible alliance between people on opposing sides at the April 27 assembly.

“It is time for citizens to support politicians who make difficult decisions,” Zaev said.

Incumbent mayor Petre Silegov also congratulated Danela Arsovska, an independent candidate backed by VMRO-DPMNE, on her victory.

“I thank my family, the wonderful team with whom we spent four years in Skopje and where we built indelible footprints, our boulevards, bridges, docks and green roofs that no one can erase. We will be here with all progressive forces to continue the struggle for Skopje,” Silegov said at a press conference at the SDSM headquarters.

Zoran Zaev has been prime minister since May 2017 and leader of the SDSM since 2013.

In yesterday’s second round of the municipal elections, Zoran Zaev’s party suffered a major defeat, both in the Skopje metropolitan municipality and in all other major municipalities in the country where polls were set up for the second round.

The big winner of these municipal elections was the right-wing opposition VMRO-DPMNE, whose leader, Christian Mitskoski, late last night said that Zoran Zaev’s government had lost the confidence of the people and claimed that the country now had the conditions for early parliamentary elections.

“Many doubted us, but hope prevailed. Macedonia must change and the changes start today. We all dream of a better future. But today we begin to change the image of the country and start our work to improve our living standards and secure our future. I am grateful to all the citizens who voted for us and to those who did not vote for us, whose support we will continue to seek. We went through a lot of turmoil but it was worth it,” said Mitskoski.

The current government has a parliamentary majority, albeit a slim one (supported by 62 MPs out of 120 in the country’s legislature). Therefore, the largest party in the ruling coalition, the SDSM, in consultation with its government partners, may appoint a new prime minister, who will seek a vote of confidence from parliament.

However, it is not excluded that one – or some – of the smaller coalition parties might withdraw their confidence in the current government and “switch” to the opposition and to VMRO-DPMNE, which in this case could lead a new government without elections.

If neither of the above two scenarios ‘comes to fruition’, then early parliamentary elections would have to be called in the country. In this case, according to the current legislation, a caretaker government must be formed 100 days before the elections, which will lead the country to elections.

The only certainty is that as of today North Macedonia has a government in abeyance.

The results of the second round

A total of 44 municipalities were decided in yesterday’s elections, including the Skopje metropolitan municipality of 700,000 inhabitants, in which the independent candidate, Danela Arsovska, who was nevertheless openly supported by VMRO-DPMNE, won by 14 percentage points over the outgoing Skopje mayor and new SDSM candidate Petre Silengov.

The VMRO-DPMNE even won in other large municipalities in the country, such as Bitola (Monastir) and Ohrid, while in Kumanovo, the second largest municipality in the country, the SDSM ‘rebel’ and current mayor, Maksim Dimitrievski, won over SDSM candidate Oliver Ilievski. Dimitrijewski did not receive the SDSM nomination this time and ran as an independent candidate, which led to his expulsion from the party.

In the Albanian Albanian political “camp”, the largest Albanian party in North Macedonia, Ali Ahmeti’s DUI, lost in the largest “Albanian” municipality in the country, Tetovo, where its candidate, Teuta Arifi, was defeated by the leader of the smaller co-ruling Albanian party “BESA” , Bilal Kasami. However, Ali Ahmedi’s party won in Strouga, while losing, as expected, in Gostivar./ibna

Source: skopjenews, nezavisen