Whether there will be early elections in the spring or early summer next year depends on whether we get a date for EU membership talks in October, or whether NATO accession will be completed by the end of the year. Such are the analysts ‘predictions, but also the ruling circles’ deliberations on the opposition’s request not to wait for December 2020 as a regular term for parties to confront voters.
VMRO-DPMNE has officially suggested that early elections be held in early April due to Easter holidays or in late May due to Ramadan fasting. According to the main opposition party, Macedonia can not afford to waste time with the government of Zoran Zaev, who they consider to be a criminal, incapable and unable to move the country.
SDSM continues to reiterate that it is not the time for elections, as the focus is on the economy, but acknowledges that the party is increasingly considering accepting the glove thrown by the opposition.
A technical government will take some time, too
“It is a fact that the ‘Reket’ affair seriously undermines our ratings, although we are convinced our party officials have nothing to do with the case. We expect the investigation to prove that. Now is the holiday season, in the fall we expect to find a solution to the Law on the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and even to the census and electoral model. In October, we are hoping for a green light from Brussels and finally the start of negotiations with the EU, because we as a state and as a government have done everything we were asked to do. If ratification of the NATO invitation is completed in time in all countries, although it is unclear how the situation in Spain will unfold, then we can sit in the spring and agree on elections. It should be borne in mind that we will also have to vote for the Przino government, and we plan to respect the article saying that Prime Minister Zaev will leave office 100 days before the elections. At this point, it is frivolous to bid for a date, but if all goes as planned, they would go to the polls before the summer begins. If not, October remains as the date proposed by Prime Minister Zaev”, SDSM interlocutors say.
Representatives of the government and the opposition have so far not discussed the issue, nor within the working groups they have on the three disputed points: the Law on the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Census and the electoral model. In VMRO-DPMNE they expect their political rivals to comment on both terms they offered, and then they would talk about others.
“Neither the EU will help them if we receive an invitation, nor NATO, because the citizens have realized who they are dealing with. Let them decide what month they want, they can even have June, we will certainly not boycott, but we will win with a big margin”, VMRO-DPMNE’s optimists say.
The Albanian parties are not opposing
Analyst Petar Arsovski also thinks it is possible to go to the polls in the spring if the government gets the needed wind in the back from Brussels.
“Certainly the government will want to go to the polls as soon as possible when they get a date for negotiations with the EU and an official accession to NATO, seeking to capitalize on that effect and the satisfaction that will follow. Conversely, if we do not win negotiations and NATO ratification, it will try to drag on to avoid disappointment among the citizens”, Arsovski emphasized.
It is publicly commented that the various economic measures promoted by the Prime Minister on a daily basis are a classic pre-election, but SDSM denies and claims that their government is constantly working in the interest of the citizens, not just for the elections.
“For the past 11 years, the previous criminal authorities of VMRO-DPMNE and Nikola Gruevski have implemented measures in a populist way, just before the elections in order to win more votes. We are not like that”, the party on Bihakjka says.
When it comes to parties from the Albanian block, there seems to be a growing mood for early parliamentary elections. DUI only conditioned them not to be this year due to the processes that should be completed by the country along the Euro-Atlantic path, while saying that next year “there will be another tune playing”.
“Those elections could be in May, June or October. Next year is certainly optional. We need all parties to sit down and agree. We are certainly ready for that challenge”, Ali Ahmeti’s party assures.
Meanwhile, the opposition Alliance for Albanians and Besa are confident that their time is coming, and that DUI is over. Although no co-operation has been agreed, both Ziadin Sela and Biljil Kasami believe they will eventually emerge victorious in the Albanian electorate and form part of the new government.