Elections North Macedonia

VMRO-DPMNE back in power in North Macedonia, new president sparks diplomatic spat

| 2024-05-13 2 min read

VMRO-DPMNE back in power in North Macedonia, new president sparks diplomatic spat

Reading Time: 2 minutes

North Macedonia’s right-wing VMRO-DPMNE party scored twin landslide victories in the parliamentary elections on Wednesday, 8 May 2024.

After 7 years in opposition VMRO-DPMNE swept back to power as the 22-party coalition it led won 44% of the vote in the Balkan country’s parliamentary elections. 

The election was mainly fought over corruption and the slow pace of EU integration in the country which has been a candidate country since 2005. For the last two years, Bulgaria has blocked North Macedonia’s EU process, demanding that it constitutionally acknowledge its Bulgarian minority population.

VMRO-DPMNE secured 58 House seats, 4 short of an outright majority. Support for the ruling centre-left coalition led by the SDSM collapsed to an all-time low of 14%, as it lost 28 seats.

Third place went to the junior ruling ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, led by Ali Ahmeti, with 14.3%. The DUI’s rivals in the united Albanian opposition “Vlen” (It’s Worth It) came fourth with 93 thousand votes or 11.21%. The anti-Western Left party won 6.87% while Maksim Dimitrievski’s SDSM breakaway party ZNAM garnered 5.26%.

VMRO-DPMNE looks to form coalition

In North Macedonia, where ethnic Albanians make up about a quarter of the population, the winning Albanian party is often the kingmaker and junior coalition partner. However VMRO-DPMNE said it does not want the DUI in its coalition and would prefer to govern with the united Albanian opposition VLEN.

On Saturday VMRO DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski wrote that “Today a meeting was held between VMRO-DPMNE and VLEN. The general principles of cooperation for the future government have been agreed, which will be based on three postulates: European integration, accelerated economic development, the fight against crime and corruption and the rule of law.”

SDSM Dimitar Kovacevski said “The Social Democrats have suffered a hammer blow”. Kovacevski said his party “has shown responsibility and state-wide, together with the coalition, we must be a responsible, strong, principled and nationwide opposition. Over the past two years… we achieved the highest salaries ever and the highest employment. We have done a lot and, in some matters, history will prove us right. 

“Next year is an opportunity for Macedonia to continue its European integration. If we miss that chance, we could lose another decade, maybe even another generation. In the coming period, we will analyse the election results in detail. We will do whatever it takes to rebuild and restore the trust of the citizens we have lost. The rebuilding process must be at all levels,” Kovacevski added.

President sparks diplomatic row as she is sworn in

In the second round of the 2024 presidential election, held in parallel, VMRO-DPMNE candidate, Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova received 64.91% of the vote, more than double Social Democrat SDSM Stevo Pendarovski’s 29.26%.

At her inauguration ceremony on Sunday, when she became the country’s first female president, Siljanovska-Davkova caused a diplomatic incident with its neighbour Greece by referring to her country as “Macedonia” rather than “North Macedonia” as agreed in the SDSM-brokered Prespa Agreement in 2018, which resolved Greece’s opposition to the country’s EU accession.

Greece’s ambassador to Skopje, Sophia Philippidou left the room in protest and a statement Greece’s Foreign Ministry said Siljanovska-Davkova had damaged bilateral relations and North Macedonia’s prospects of joining the EU.