The issue of whether SDSM Vice President Muhamed Zekiri is fully cooperating with healthcare teams after contracting the coronavirus was raised today. SDSM leader Zoran Zaev, during a press conference, stated that Zekiri contracted the virus attending an iftar dinner at his brother’s place during the Muslim month of Ramadan. But shortly after Zekiri issued a statement insisting that Zaev made a “mistake” and that he strictly followed all social distancing regulations.

This again, flies in the face of Zekiri’s own Facebook feed where, 20 days ago, during the month of Ramadan, he posted a picture with his brother and their small children. Zekiri’s infection forced half a dozen of top SDSM party officials, and a number from their entourage, to go into quarantine, as they were attending meetings and campaign events with Zekiri – who was quickly dubbed “SDSM patient zero”. This former journalist is now the head of the Albanian faction in SDSM, the only growing voting bloc in the party.

During the month of Ramadan I conducted all iftar dinners at home, with just the family present and no-one else. I first left the home on the Ramadan Bajram weekend, again with just the closest family, Zekiri said, in a statement that only raised more questions, given his own Facebook pictures and Zaev’s “mistaken” statement.

Zekiri was outspoken in demanding that the police cracks down on the iftar dinners, apparently hoping for a confrontation between the police and Muslim worshippers which SDSM could blame on Interior Minister Nake Culev, who is appointed by the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party. As soon as the extent of the Ramadan spike became clear, SDSM turned on Culev in unison, accusing him, and not the citizens who violated the recommendations. Culev has said that the police is not the proper tool for such violations, especially given that the iftar dinners were frequently conducted legally, in private homes and back yards where citizens were allowed to congregate.