Zaev Resigns as PM and Head of His Party

Zoran Zaev, North Macedonia’s Prime Minister, resigned from the post and as the head of the ruling SDSM after his candidate lost the election in the capital Skopje to an independent runner supported by the nationalist VMRO DPMNE, the premier’s bitter rival. Addressing a news conference, Zaev congratulated the political opponent, the opposition VMRO DPMNE, Hristijan Mickoski, on the victory of the candidate his party supported, adding he was taking responsibility for the defeat in the local elections.

“I am resigning from the position of Prime Minister and President of the SDSM”, he said, adding that he believed an early parliamentary election should not be held. Zaev congratulated “all citizens who fought for an integrated Republic of North Macedonia”. He congratulated all elected mayors and councilors, telling them to serve the citizens honorably and responsibly. He then reminded what the regime he led in the Republic of North Macedonia in previous years had achieved a lot in the economic field and Euro-Atlantic integration.

Zaev successfully ended the 28-year-old dispute with Greece by changing the country’s name from Macedonia into Republic of North Macedonia and paved the way to Euro-Atlantic integration. Local elections’ run-off was held in 44 municipalities with some 1,350,000 eligible voters at 2,481 polling stations. Some 870 domestic and 328 international observers monitored the run-off, 218 from the OSCE / ODIHR Mission.

“I won this difficult battle in which, in addition to the former mayor, my opponent was the outgoing Prime Minister Zoran Zaev”, Danela Arsovska, the new Skopje Mayor, said. According to the 87 percent counted ballots, Arsovska received 55.5, leaving the current mayor Petre Shilegov from SDSM behind with 41 percent of the votes, the State Election Commission said.