The early parliamentary elections in the Republic of North Macedonia were initially scheduled for February 12, 2020, however, due to the health crisis caused by COVID 19 they were postponed and took place on July 15, 2020. The decision to hold elections on July 15, despite the alarming increase of the number of COVID 19 patients, was rationalised by the Government as an absolute necessity to have a functional Parliament – given that parliament was dissolved on February 16, 2020, and to have a new government which replaces the technical government created in January 2020. Another reason for the early parliamentary elections was holding the ruling political party (SDSM) responsible for not getting a date for pre-accession negotiations with the EU.
The elections took place in a democratic atmosphere and without incidents, in full compliance with the recommendations for health safety. With a turnout of 51%, it can be concluded that a large number of Macedonian citizens have decided not to vote. In the pre-election period, the prevailing attitude among the citizens was that “these are elections without elections”. In addition to the existing parliamentary parties, these elections were characterised by the participation of many new small parties that simulated a breath of fresh air in the “stagnant” political environment.
According to the official preliminary results, SDSM together with the coalition “We can” has 46 seats, which by itself is not enough to form a government. VMRO-DPMNE – the current opposition received 44 seats. The Democratic Union for Integration from the Albanian bloc (DUI) is triumphant with 15 seats, which overshadows the Alliance of Albanians with 12 seats. In consequence, the formation of the new government is now in the balance, especially due to the ambitious demands of DUI who are adamant that the new Prime Minister should be an ethnic Albanian, whose name was already known during the election campaign.
The post-election environment is quite calm, but there is an obvious confusion regarding the aftermath of the elections. The new small political party, LEVICA, which entered Parliament with two seats, is highly present in Social Media. The party filed approximately 2,000 complaints about irregularities in the election process, none of which were upheld by the Election Commission. Namely, the website of the State Election Commission was the target of hacker attacks which started as soon as voting closed. There were disparities between votes counted and the data entered into the computer system of the Electoral Commission, thus casting doubts over the validity of the official results.
Read the full article here.