Pressed with the problem of getting the amendments used to rename Macedonia into North Macedonia through Parliament and sign them into law, the SDSM party is briefing its media outlets that it could propose further changes in the Constitution and get the President elected through Parliament and not directly, through elections.
President Ivanov steps down in 2019 and the elections are expected in April. But, under the Constitution, at least 40 percent of the total number of voters need to show up for the election to be valid. In case of opposition boycott due to the political persecution it is exposed to, it’s doubtful that the ruling SDSM party and its partners from the Albanian camp will be able to reach the number. Even with full mobilization and with support from the likes of Angela Merkel and James Mattis, as well as clear evidence of ballot stuffing, SDSM and its coalition barely reached 36 percent in the important name referendum on September 30th. While VMRO-DPMNE was not pushing for boycott of this referendum, and some of its officials were actively calling for a “no” vote that would’ve pushed the turnout higher, a home-grown network of boycott activists and the overall voter dissatisfaction with the process led to the disastrously low turnout, which SDSM fears could happen again in 2019.
So, the next idea put forward by SDSM, through loyal media outlets, especially after Prime Minister Zaev announced he will not be running, is to use the nearly two thirds majority it currently has in Parliament after a series of blackmails and other pressures aimed against opposition members of Parliament, to elect the next President indirectly. Although, the constitutional change needed to elect the next President through the Parliament would also have to be signed into law by President Ivanov, who is expected to refuse to sign the amendments to rename Macedonia.