Zoran Zaev resigns as PM of North Macedonia after crushing defeat in municipality elections



Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, submitted his resignation as leader of the country and as president of ruling ruling Social Democratic Party (SDSM) after his party suffered a crushing defeat in the second round of municipal elections held yesterday, Sunday.


SDSM lost both in the Skopje metropolitan municipality and in all other major municipalities in the country.


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.


Zoran Zaev said late Sunday 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 while he stated that he takes responsibility for the election defeat.


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.


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

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.