The first round of the presidential elections will be held on April 21st, Speaker Talat Xhaferi decided on Friday.

If no candidate wins outright, the second round will be held two weeks later, on May 5th. Along with the presidential elections, two rounds of municipal elections will be held – for mayors of Ohrid and Novo Selo, after the former died in office, and the latter was caught and sentenced for smuggling cigarettes to Bulgaria.

It is still uncertain whether early general elections will be held along with the presidential elections – if so, likely on May 5th. VMRO-DPMNE demands early elections insisting that that is the only way to ensure that the vote is free and fair, given that general elections come with additional layers of security and provide that several key Government departments will be held by opposition representatives. The ruling SDSM party is still considering this challenge, and is still in the early stages of nominating a presidential candidate as well.