According to certain hints, Ohrid will be at the center of the forthcoming election campaign for president of the country, which is expected, given the overlap with the extraordinary elections for mayor of this municipality, which is considered one of the most attractive in the country, and there were frequent oscillations in the political mood of the citizens in the past. VMRO-DPMNE, traditionally, chose Ohrid for the upcoming elections as the starting position for the campaign, which begins on April 1st. SDSM, meanwhile, plans to hold the final rally in Ohrid before the first round, ie on April 18th, before the start of the pre-election silence.
Just like before the early general elections in December 2016, the campaign caravans of the two main political parties are likely to start in Ohrid and Prilep this year as well, where the ruling coalition will hold the first rally, and hours before that, presidential candidate Stevo Pendarovski, in fact, will have the first campaign address in Krushevo. SDSM says that the latest campaigns are starting in Prilep as a symbol of victory that, as the party says, was confirmed in the last local elections.
It is interesting that regarding the schedule of rallies and other technical issues before the upcoming elections there is more intensive coordination than the usual among the headquarters of the three presidential candidates: Pendarovski, Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova and the independent candidate Blerim Reka, who received support from Besa and the Alliance of Albanians. This principle was agreed upon at a recent meeting between the leaders of SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE, Zoran Zaev and Hristijan Mickoski, in order to ensure a fair and regular election process that would positively influence the EU’s assessments prior to the decision on the date for starting accession talks.
According to the announcements, the two main political parties will hold their central rallies in Skopje in the middle of the campaign, ie VMRO-DPMNE on the 13th, and SDSM on April 14th. The VMRO-DPMNE presidential campaign is likely to end in Stip. The latest details about the upcoming campaign were agreed yesterday at candidate Reka’s headquarters, so the initial announcements are that it will start from Skopje and will come out of the current election campaign matrices, so it will be focused on Reka’s debates with voters in which experts were also involved on certain issues. Reka’s headquarters yesterday submitted his nomination to the SEC, along with over 11,000 signatures of citizens. The deadline for submitting presidential nominations expires on Thursday. By then, the candidates for mayors of Ohrid, Debar and Novo Selo should be confirmed as well.
For the Ohrid election, it has been confirmed that SDSM’s candidate is interim mayor Konstantin Georgieski, while VMRO-DPMNE’s candidate is Mitre Milosevski. Unlike the election battle at the central level that will be a “a fight between professors”, since the three candidates come from the university, the battle for Ohrid will be a “fight between doctors”, given that both Georgieski and Milosevski are doctors – the former is an internist, and the latter is a neurosurgeon. In the municipality of Novo Selo, SDSM’s candidate is Nikola Andonov, who was mayor in the period betweeb 2005-2009, and VMRO-DPMNE’s candidate is Nikolco Stoilkov. For Debar, however, the parties are calculating up to the last moment, and the expectation is that SDSM will stand behind DUI’s candidate, as in 2017, and VMRO-DPMNE will probably support the candidate of Besa and the Alliance of Albanians.
SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE General Secretaries, Aleksandar Kiracovski and Igor Janusev are leading the central election headquarters of the candidates Pendarovski and Siljanovska-Davkova. SDSM announced several major rallies, and in parallel a forum, ie an interactive campaign, similar to the one for the referendum, in which citizens can be take part asking questions to the presidential candidate and officials from the parties that are part of the ruling coalition, who also will be involved in pre-election activities, including Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. VMRO-DPMNE officials say they will conduct a civil campaign. Presidential candidate Siljanovska-Davkova and party leader Hristijan Mickoski will give priority to direct contacts with citizens. The opposition plans to hold two classic rallies and several protest marches, similar to those it organized in the past few months.