Zaev announces resignation


North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has announced his resignation following the heavy defeat of his ruling party, the Social Democratic Union, in local elections.

“The responsibility for this outcome is mine and i’m resigning as Prime Minister and as leader of the Social Democratic Union,” Zaev told a press conference at party headquarters late Sunday.

Zaev came out against early national elections. Instead, he will support a social democrat-led government under a new leader.

Although official results are not yet in, Zaev conceded defeat in the most important contest, that for mayor of the capital Skopje, with incumbent mayor Petre Shilegov losing to a center-right challenger. Danela Arsovska.

Candidates supported by the main opposition party, the center-right VMRO-DPMNE, appeared set to win at least half of the country’s 80 municipalities, with the ruling Social Democrats set to win fewer than 20. At the last municipal elections, in 2017, the Social Democrats had won 57 contests and VMRO-DPMNE only five.