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Northern Macedonian parliamentary elections to be held today


Northern Macedonian parliamentary elections to be held today

NorthMacedonia NYT
Photo: NYT

North Macedonia will hold snap parliamentary elections today after a pandemic-induced three-month delay.

The socialist Social Democratic Union coalition (SDSM), led by former PM Zoran Zaev, and the conservative Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) are widely expected to dominate today’s vote.

The SDSM has campaigned for Euro-Atlantic integration, predicated on North Macedonia’s accession to the EU. This was preceded by North Macedonia’s induction into NATO on March 27 and the resolution of Macedonian-Greek enmity with the compromise signing of the Prespa Agreement in 2018. The latter agreement, in which the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia agreed to change its name to North Macedonia, persuaded Greece to actively support the SDSM in commencing trade and EU membership negotiations. However, the VMRO-DPMNE has strongly opposed the agreement as an erosion of Macedonian national identity and claimed it is tantamount to cultural genocide.

The Euro-Atlantic trajectory is expected to shore up support for the SDSM in this election following the EU’s resumption of membership negotiations in March—a likely attempt to reverse France’s membership veto in 2019. The German EU Council Presidency has prioritised the accession conference, with Chancellor Angela Merkel deciding to lift civil reform conditions for North Macedonia’s membership. This, followed by Skopje’s rapprochement with Greece, has cleared the accession path and bodes well for a SDSM victory.

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