The State Electoral Commission informed that the turnout in the October 17th local elections amount to 51.5 percent – lowest turnout in local elections in Macedonian history.

It is comparable to the 2020 general elections, which saw a turnout of 52 percent – indicating that this is now the “Covid normal”. The two main parties saw their number of votes in the council races – which is the clearest indication of party standing – drop compared to the 2020 election. VMRO-DPMNE won a total of 285,000 votes, against 315,000 last year. But SDSM suffered a complete collapse – it went down from 327,000 votes last year to just 239,000 now – about half of that loss is due to SDSM losing its coalition partners BESA and LDP-DOM, who ran independent local campaigns and each won about 25,000 votes.

DUI maintained its standing compared to last year, with 103,000 votes. The Albanian opposition parties AA and Alternative lost some of their support – they are down from 80,000 to 55,000. And the populist Levica party gained a solid amount of votes – it’s up from 37,000 last year to 50,000. Compared to the pre-Covid 2017 local elections, which SDSM won in a landslide, VMRO lost 50,000 votes, while SDSM is down whopping 180,000 votes.

Given the model for electing mayors, the loss of support for SDSM translated into disastrous results – the party lost three major cities and five major urban centers in Skopje in the first round, and gained only one city. It is fighting for dear life in the second round to win in Skopje, Kumanovo, Bitola and Ohrid, as well as the Skopje municipalities of Centar and Karpos – all places where it thought it will have easy wins in the first round.