The race for Ivanov's successor begins - Slaveski, Stavreski and Kerim among VMRO-DPMNE favorites

The race for Ivanov's successor begins - Slaveski, Stavreski and Kerim among VMRO-DPMNE favorites
In the shadow of the dramatic developments in the name dispute with Greece, the expected invitation for NATO membership, the delayed start date for EU accession negotiations and the announced referendum, the parties are preparing for the presidential election that will be held next year. The completion of the second term of incumbent President Gjorge Ivanov and the legal ban on obtaining a third means that Macedonia will receive its fifth "father of the nation" next spring. The opposition wants to organize early parliamentary election along with the presidential, the government is opposed to such a request for the time being. However, first the referendum, and then the presidential election will be an indicator of the mood among the citizens in terms of government policies and reorganization the opposition.

At the moment, VMRO-DPMNE is preoccupied with the activities around the "Working Summer" that will be implemented across the country. Announced visits to all homes, villages and towns, 1,500 teams of four people will try to reach out to the citizens, to hear their problems and ideas, suggestions and recommendations.

"We will begin with more serious surveys, analyzes and field trials in September and October. We will see the ratings of potential candidates on the entire territory of Macedonia. For the time being, we are exploring within our membership and the best ones are Professor Trajko Slaveski, former Deputy Prime Minister Zoran Stavreski, and right behind them is Srgjan Kerim, former foreign minister," said VMRO-DPMNE official for Nezavisen/Independent daily newspaper.

Fifty-eight year old Trajko Slaveski is a professor at the Faculty of Economics in Skopje and former Minister of Finance (from 2006 to 2009) and Minister of Development (from 1999 to 2000) in VMRO-DPMNE's governments, later becoming vice-president of the party in 2005. He is considered a good connoisseur of economy and critic of the government's economic policies led by Zoran Zaev. Interestingly, when he was dismissed from the ministerial post in 2009 (at the request of the then Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski), he was succeeded by Zoran Stavreski, who, according to the membership of the main opposition party, should be his rival in the intra-party battle. Stavreski, 54, is related to Gruevski, he led the finance sector in the government until 2016, and then resigned, as stated by the health reasons themselves. His name is heard in the wiretapped telephone conversations that were published by the then opposition, but in those telephone conversations he actually criticized the former prime minister's moves.

"In the whole mess that was happening, he remained clean during that whole time," the party stated.

Right after the two professors from Ohrid comes Srdjan Kerim, who was born in Skopje 69 years ago. In the period from November 30, 2000 to May 13, 2001, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador to Germany and the United Nations. From September 2007 to September 2008 he was President of the 62nd Session of the UN General Assembly. Later, he had plans to become the UN Secretary General, but those plans fell through. He was also in the media business, newspapers "Utrinski vesnik", "Dnevnik" and "Vest" were closed while he led the MPM. In 2009, in the wake of the presidential election, SDSM, who was the then opposition, proposed to VMRO-DPMNE for the two parties to come out with a common candidate - Srdjan Kerim. Truth be told, his name was mentioned as a candidate of VMRO-DPMNE, but once the party got the offer from SDSM, VMRO-DPMNE rejected it, and much to everyone’s surprise, the party nominated Professor Gjorgje Ivanov.

When it comes to the Social Democrats, unofficial information indicates that the number of contenders for the presidency is constantly increasing in the camp around SDSM. Stevo Pendarovski, who was a candidate for SDSM in 2014 and got relatively good results, is also one of the more serious possible solutions for the upcoming election, unless it is decided to go with a "firm" party solution. However, it is increasingly rumored among the political circles that the coalition in power will propose Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska. The dilemma is because of the minister's poor rating, which, according to the latest surveys, does not enjoy the confidence of the citizens. Deputy Prime Minister Koco Angjushev and Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, as well as several businessmen, including Trifun Kostovski, are also mentioned as candidates for the presidential candidacy from the ruling party. SDSM is expected to receive support from coalition partners, primarily from DUI, although it is uncertain what can happen in the next ten months when the election is scheduled.

The political parties are currently working to adjust the election regulations, so the plan is to apply the new rules from September, and the SEC to start functioning according to a new concept and in a new composition: as an administrative body in which the parties will delegate their observers six months before regular elections.

It is estimated that neither SDSM nor VMRO-DPMNE is concerned with any candidate profile in the presidential election, which will in fact be a prelude to the parliamentary election, which should be held in its regular term by the end of 2020. Nominations will of course be influenced by the outcome of the political processes that remain.

Macedonia has so far had four presidents: Kiro Gligorov served two terms from 1991 to 1999, Boris Trajkovski to 2004, Branko Crvenkovski 2009, and Ivanov, who will end his second term next year, after a decade-long stay in the Vodno villa.

Goran Adamovski

Share with your friends: