Tight Election Race Fails to Thrill North Macedonia’s Voters

Balkan Insight

By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Ruling and opposition parties are set for a close finish in Wednesday’s early general elections, after a lacklustre campaign dominated by familiar promises and stale-sounding rhetoric.

Amid an ongoing health crisis and with relatively low-key activities, a tightly fought early general election concludes in North Macedonia on Wednesday whose results will decide who leads the country for the next four years.

The winner will have to deal with the expected start of EU accession talks that will almost certainly mark the government’s entire term, while at the same time having to handle the economic after-effects of the coronavirus crisis whose full toll remains unclear.

While the challenges ahead are serious, the campaign itself, filled with recycled promises and passing without the usual massive rallies, has failed to excite the nation.

The two main blocs, the one centred around the ruling Social Democrats, SDSM, under Zoran Zaev, and the other centred around the right-wing opposition VMRO DPMNE party, led by Hristijan Mickoski, have largely relied on familiar combinations of economic and infrastructure promises, social measures and pledges for quicker EU integration.

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