Zoran Zaev initiated his purge within the ranks of the SDS party and he targeted the party’s two main regional wings besides his own loyalists. Worst hit were the party branches in Skopje and surprisingly, in Kumanovo. The purge was initiated following the presidential elections, and Zaev seems set to use the results in order to cement his hold of the party.
Aleksandar Kiracovski is out as Secretary General. He was involved in a series of cases of nepotism, hiring his own family relatives and mistresses to well paid public sector positions, but also encouraging this practice across all levels of the administration. He is being replaced with Agriculture Minister Ljupco Nikolovski, who is seen as exceptionally close and loyal yo Zaev.
All deputy leaders of the party were also dismissed, as was the head of the party’s women’s wing. The powerful organization secretary, former intelligence officer Mile Zecevik also resigned, as did the international secretary Jovan Despotovski. Despotovski adds to the list of people close to Zaev’s most powerful deputy, Radmila Sekerinska, who are losing their positions – in his case after one of the first and biggest corruption scandals in the party involving the Innovations Fund he runs.
The only goal of the purge appears to be tied not to fighting the massive corruption at every level, but to significantly weaken Zaev’s main rival within the party Radmila Sekerinska.