Elections North Macedonia

North Macedonia sets May election date

| 2024-02-15 2 min read

North Macedonia sets May election date

Reading Time: 2 minutes

EU candidate country North Macedonia will hold early parliamentary elections on 8 May, the House speaker Jovan Mitreski announced on Wednesday, 14 February. The first round of the presidential election will be on April 24 while the second will be on the same day as the parliamentary ballot.

After pressure from the Balkan country’s main political parties – and right-wing nationalist opposition party VMRO-DPMNE party in particular – the centre-left government in December agreed to hold early general elections in the spring, before putting a caretaker government in place in January.

“Given the legal deadlines and religious holidays in the period, we agreed to the election dates,” former North Macedonia prime minister Dimitar Kovacevski said. “Finally, after 17 years, we will have regular parliamentary elections and this speaks of good government policies,” added Kovacevski, who served as the country’s premier from January 2022 to January 2024.

Ethnic minority likely to be key in election drive

Alliance for Albanians leader Arben Taravari said Friday, 9 February, that his party has “officially decided to join the opposition bloc” after 85 of the 133 deputies had signed up to support him earlier in the day. Former party leader Ziadin Sela, who resigned in 2022, accused Taravari of “cowardice” and “betrayal”, insisting that the party would compete alone in the elections.

If the party joins the “European Alliance for Change” bloc, which unites Alternativa, BESA and the Democratic Movement, it could challenge the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), North Macedonia’s biggest ethnic Albanian party and the sometime kingmaker in national politics over the last two decades. Ethnic Albanians make up around a quarter of the Macedonian population.

The next government will need to approve unpopular constitutional changes, not least recognition of the country’s ethnic Bulgarian minority, to move forward with the bid to join the EU. A candidate to join the bloc since 2005, North Macedonia and its neighbour Albania began EU membership talks in 2022.