Down to the Wire

Close Shave

The first round of Macedonia's presidential elections delivered a surprisingly close outcome - the ruling SDSM candidate, Stevo Pendarovski, emerged less than 1% ahead of his main challenger, Gordana Siljanovska. This was despite polls which had shown him to be up to 5% ahead.

Was the close result a sign of resurgent support for the formerly ruling VMRO-DPMNE or an indication of disenchantment with the ruling SDSM? The VMRO-DPMNE is keen to paint the outcome of the first round as the beginning of the end of the SDSM. In reality, the opposition party's vote undershot that from local elections in 2018. The biggest loser, at least in the short-term, may indeed be the SDSM, which has received a clear warning from its supporters that it needs to work harder. Whether it will draw the right lessons remains to be seen.

Read more: North Macedonia Result Leaves Ruling Parties Shaken (April 23, 2019)

Getting Out the Vote

An ethnic Albanian votes in the vilage of Kondovo, N. Macedonia. Photo: EPA/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

With the first round of voting out of the way in the Macedonian presidential elections, both the ruling SDSM and the opposition VMRO-DPMNE are casting their gaze around for pools of votes that they can tap into in the build-up to the second round of voting.
As things stand, one of the biggest potential sources of additional votes is the ethnic Albanian community. In the first round, Albanians seemed to abstain from the vote more than other segments of society. This would suggest that they could make or break one of the two candidates in the second round. We look at who this crucial community will support, if anyone.

Read more: North Macedonia Presidential Hopefuls Compete for Albanian Votes (April 24,...

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