Thursday, 14 December 2017 | News today: 14

Zernovski confirms he will not run in Centar – will will switch party allegiance to SDSM and support its candidate

Andrej Zernovski, Mayor of the downtown Skopje municipality of Centar, confirmed that he will not launch an independent run in the coming municipal elections and that he will support the candidate of the ruling SDSM party. SDSM party leader and Prime Minister Zoran Zaev announced this outcome in his interview on Tuesday evening.

In exchange for not running, Zernovski said that he will be given a high position in the central executive. He is also switching party allegiance, from the small Liberal-Democratic Party to Zaev’s Social-Democrats.

“We reached this decision together. I will never forget this term as Mayor. It was a term filled with turbulence, pressure and blackmails. Those were the most difficult but also the best years of my life”, Zernovski said.

He won the seat in 2013, in hotly contested elections against former Mayor Vladimir Todorovik, which were seen as a referendum on the construction of the Skopje 2014 project in which VMRO-DPMNE largely redesigned downtown Skopje and the municipality which leans strongly toward SDSM. Zernovski took part in SDSM’s campaign to release wiretaps and in one instance charges were filed against VMRO-DPMNE leader and former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski for allegedly ordering a violent protest in front of the Centar municipal building. Protesters broke windows in the building and Zernovski insists that he was supposed to be a target of attack.

SDSM officials in the municipality began accusing him and his closest associates of corruption in the past several months in a move which revealed to the public that SDSM may withhold its support for Zernovski. Zernovski himself confirmed these rumors when he collected the necessary signatures to run an independent bid for Mayor, but eventually announced on Facebook that he will not challenge the SDSM candidate and will accept some position in the Government.

“I believe that i can help, given my experience. It will be a welcome change, but running a municipal Government will always be close to my heart and maybe I will return to it. Macedonia needs to finally begin to move forward. I will never forget the support I received in Centar and the Prime Minister and I agreed that I will help the next Mayor”, said Zernovski.