North Macedonia PM Zoran Zaev resigns

Published : November 01, 2021 17:21 IST

Zoran Zaev's Social Democrats did poorly in recent elections. Photo: Government of North Macedonia

The prime minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, has announced his resignation.

Zoran Zaev, the prime minister of North Macedonia, announced his resignation on the night of October 31. His exit from office comes after his party, the Social Democratic Union, suffered losses in local elections.

Zaev said at a press conference at party headquarters, "I take responsibility for these developments. I resign from the post of prime minister and party president." "I have brought freedom and democracy, and democracy means taking responsibility," he added.

Zaev is considered a Western-leaning reformer. He said he supports a new leader from his own party taking the helm of government rather than early national elections.

In the capital Skopje, Danela Arsovska, the opposition candidate for mayor, received 55.85 per cent of the vote whereas the incumbent Social Democratic mayor Petre Sigelov received only 40.6 per cent with 60 per cent of the votes reported. The Skopje mayor's race is the most important of the contests and Zaev's concession of defeat signaled it was over.

The electoral defeat could also disrupt the ruling coalition government. Zaev's party has a narrow majority of 62 of 120 seats with junior coalition partners from the country's Albanian minority. The main opposition party, the center-right VMRO-DPMNE appears set to win races in 80 municipalities whereas the Social Democrats may only end up holding fewer than 20. By contrast in 2017, the Social Democrats won 57 municipalities and the opposition just five.

Zaev was elected prime minister in 2017. His victory followed 10 years of Nicola Gruevski, a right-wing strongman whose ouster came amid a wiretapping scandal Zaev disclosed.

ar/aw (AP, Reuters)