Elections North Macedonia

North Macedonia president loses big in first election round

| 2024-04-29 2 min read

North Macedonia president loses big in first election round

Reading Time: 2 minutes

No candidate received a majority of votes in the first round of the Presidential elections in North Macedonia on 24 April 2024, meaning a second round will be held alongside parliamentary elections on 8 May.

Despite failing to secure the 50% required to avoid a runoff vote, Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, a 70-year-old lawyer and professor supported by the right-wing main opposition party VMRO-DPMNE, received over twice the number of votes (40.08%) of incumbent Stevo Pendarovski (19.93%), who is backed by the ruling Social Democratic (SDSM) party. “This is incredibly inspirational for me,” Siljanovska-Davkova, said after most the votes had been counted on Wednesday evening.

SDSM leader Dimitar Kovacevski said, “We made mistakes and the people said what they had about that.” Pendarovski, 61, wrote on Sunday: “Our offer is the only one that guarantees that Macedonia will go forward. The opposition carries the danger of returning the state back to the times of division. Let’s not allow us to live again in fear and without perspective. On May 8th… let’s bring the victory across the nation.” He described the result as a defeat for pro-European forces.

Local observers said the poor showing of the SDSM candidate was due to its failure to combat corruption and make progress on EU accession after two decades.

In North Macedonia, heads of state are elected in a two-round system; a candidate can only be elected in the first round of voting if they receive the equivalent of over 50% of the vote from all registered voters. In the second round, voter turnout must be at least 40% for validity.

Candidates must be over 40 years of age, have lived in the country for 10 of the last 15 year, are required to collect signatures from at least 10,000 registered voters or 30 MPs. About 1.8mn people were eligible to vote for the post, which is mainly ceremonial.