The ruling SDSM party is about to hold a meeting of its Central Committee, to determine the candidates for the coming early general elections. What is known so far is that SDSM will have its leader Zoran Zaev and deputy leader Radmila Sekerinska as heads of party lists.
Zaev will likely lead the list in the 4th, south-eastern district, which includes his base of Strumica. Sekerinska is a more difficult prospect, she may lead one of the two Skopje lists, or the 5th south-western district that includes Bitola.
Other names in the running include Venko Filipce, the Healthcare Minister who is involved in a series of corruption scandals and as of today the gross mishandling of the coronavirus crisis and the Soros sponsored far left official Mila Carovska. Zaev rejected the offer from opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski that the two do not run for Parliament, given that the winner will have to resign his position anyway to lead the next Government. Mickoski proposed that the candidates for Parliament remain there, while party officials who would rather hold seats in the next Government don’t run for Parliament. Zaev refused this proposal which would have also left him without parliamentary immunity in case of electoral defeat, at a time when the corruption cases against him are multiplying.
MPs Panco Minov and Zekir Ramcilovic who were on the VMRO-DPMNE’s coalition partners’ lists in the 2016 election are now on the SDSM lists. Minov and Ramcilovic voted in Parliament for the country’s name change after changing their party coalition amid Zoran Zaev’s mandate. Minov got the 5th place on the list in the fourth election district while Ramcilovic 10th in the third election district.
Either way the ruling party missed an easy opportunity to offer fresh faces and will again be led by Sekerinska and Zaev. Zaev led the party through two electoral defeats – a landslide loss in 2014 that gave its opponent VMRO-DPMNE an outright majority in Parliament and a narrow defeat in 2016 that still came despite Zaev pulling all stops and using a cache of wiretaps to divide the country and receiving a contingent of Albanian votes. Zaev only formed a Government in 2017 due to serious international pressure to install him in place so he can impose a name change on the country.