Former top SDSM party official, and challenger for the leadership of the party Zoran Jovanoski, reiterated his position that the party and the country can’t accept humiliating conditions from Bulgaria just to open the EU accession talks. Jovanovski early joined the push within SDSM to condemn party leader and Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, after his BGNES interview in which he accepted all demands put forward by Bulgaria, such as rewriting the Macedonian history and blurring the distinction between the two nations.

I support EU membership much more than some who are chest-thumping on the issue right now, but that must be accomplished on principled basis, in accordance with the European values. The goal of the process is to become a full fledged member state of the EU with all the rights stemming from it. The goal is not just to open the EU accession talks. We can’t agree to unacceptable terms just to open the accession talks. the process needs to be pure, on a principled basis, and needs to remain pure. If we accept these terms just to open the accession talks, and present it as a heroic act, we are just postponing the problem for later, and leaving this hot potato on the future generations, Jovanovski said.

The resistance in SDSM is led by former party leader Branko Crvenkovski, who even froze his membership in the party in protest and called for Zaev’s ouster. Zaev is surrounding himself with the kitchen cabinet, and still has the support of Defense Minister Sekerinska, but many in her circle have abandoned the duo. A vote of no confidence in Zaev’s Government is expected to be initiated next week.