Zoran Zaev, the prime minister of North Macedonia and leader of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), has tendered his resignation for both positions following his party’s defeat at the latest elections for local government.
“I take full responsibility for [our] defeat at the local elections [and] am resigning as prime minister, and as the president of the SDSM. I remain of the opinion that an early parliamentary election should not be called,” Zaev told a press conference in the evening of Oct. 31.
The prime minister explained that he would continue to serve during a transitional period, as long as necessary, to “help organize a new government.” Zaev added that he felt it was his duty to point out the obvious presence of significant outside funding in the opposition’s election campaign – fund he believes were donated to further both political and financial agendas.
“A portion of the substantial money they got also came from local businessmen, namely the owners of construction companies. . . [who have] their own financial interests and agendas,” Zaev stated.
Prior to Zaev’s press conference, Hristijan Mickoski, the leader of the VMRO-DPMNE party, announced “definite victories” in Skopje and 20 other municipalities, including Bitola, Ohrid and Gevgelija, where a second round of local elections for mayor was held on Oct. 31. Mickoski stated that North Macedonia has to change – starting immediately – and called for Prime Minister and SDSM President Zaev to “get the message, resign and go away.”
In the second round of local elections, the citizens of North Macedonia voted on the mayors of 44 local municipalities as well as the capital, Skopje.