In North Macedonia, the ruling Social Democratic Party admitted defeat to the Nationalist Party

In North Macedonia, the ruling Social Democratic Party admitted defeat to the Nationalist Party

The center-left Social Democratic Party (SDSM), which is in power, admitted defeat, on Wednesday evening, May 8, in the presidential and legislative elections in North Macedonia, to the nationalist party VMRO-DPMNE. “I congratulate our political opponent VMRO-DPMNE on his election victory.”Dimitar Kovacevski, outgoing Prime Minister and leader of the Social Democratic Movement party, made the announcement even before the official results were published.

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Fireworks erupted in the capital, Skopje, as news spread of an easy victory for the nationalists. VMRO-DPMNE leader and potential future prime minister, Hristijan Mykowski, has not yet given a speech. VMRO-DPMNE presidential candidate, Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, had already led by a large margin in the first round, on April 24.

If the right-wing opposition's return to power in the impoverished Balkan country is confirmed, it would significantly revive tensions with neighboring Greece and Bulgaria, as the latter country sets its terms for advancing North Macedonia's EU accession negotiations. .

He promised firmness against Bulgaria

Hristijan Mickoski has refused to recognize the country's new name as North Macedonia, in line with a 2018 agreement signed with Greece to end a long-standing dispute between Skopje and Athens. He also promised to show firmness in the confrontation between his country and Bulgaria, which has hampered negotiations on North Macedonia's membership in the European Union during the past two years.

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The Social Democrats had warned that the election result would be decisive for North Macedonia's European future. Effort lost. “Citizens will have the final say in the direction the state takes.”Former Prime Minister and SDSM leader Dimitar Kovacevski said after the vote.

Since assuming leadership of VMRO-DPMNE in 2017, Mr. Mykowski has rebuilt a party shaken by the flight of its former leader and former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, accused of corruption, who found asylum in Viktor Orbán's Hungary.

Mass migration

Mr. Mycoski also promised to prioritize the economy and create tens of thousands of jobs, a message that many voters in this poor country affected by accelerating inflation are sensitive to. Over the past two decades, North Macedonia has lost about 10% of its population to mass migration, and young people there have few future prospects.

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During the election campaign, Mr. Mycoski resorted to increasingly inflammatory rhetoric against the Albanian Identity Party, the country's main Albanian party, raising concerns that his statements could jeopardize fragile inter-ethnic relations. Albanians represent more than a quarter of the population of 1.8 million. DUI leader Ali Ahmadi led a brief armed rebellion in 2001 to gain more rights for his community.

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Since declaring independence in 1991, successive governments of the former Yugoslav Republic have respected an unwritten rule that an Albanian party must be included in the ruling coalition. The DUI, along with a coalition of minority groups, appears to be able to obtain the largest number of Albanian votes, although Mr. Mycoski has called its leaders “ “Thieves”.

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