Seasoned journalist Dragan Pavlovik Latas warns that, if there is a push to boycott the presidential elections, it will come from the SDSM – DUI camp. The calls to boycott the elections are now mostly coming from the right, by activists of the former Boycott movement which successfully torpedoed the name change referendum in September 2018, forcing the Government and its international supporters to use open threats and blackmail to ram the name change through Parliament.

The turnout required for the referendum to be successful was 50 percent plus one voter, meaning, if there is no sufficient turnout, the referendum fails and there is no legal name change. It was a clear situation calling for a boycott. The referendum failed, we witnessed the horse-trading with the members of Parliament, in violation of the law, and it was witnesed by all. The failure of the referendum will serve as a solid basis for the future, when the balance of powers in the Balkans has changed again, to re-open the issue of the constitutional name and delete that “North” from the name of the country, Latas writes in the Vecer news site.

But, the journalist believes, a similar boycott of the presidential elections as well would be just an expression of frivolity.

Will the boycott prevent ballot stuffing in favor of Stevo Pendarovski which would make up for the low turnout/ No. In fact, it gives them more options for manipulation. A boycott would mean early presidential elections in two months when another boycott would mean another early election two months after that and so on. Notice how news sites and social media bots operated by SDSM are the ones who give airtime to the calls for boycott, Latas warns.

The journalist recently resigned as editor in chief of the best watched Macedonian TV station – Sitel – citing pressure both he and the TV station are exposed to. Recently nearly the entire ministerial line-up of the small opposition Socialist Party, whose leader owns Sitel, was arrested by the Zoran Zaev regime in a clear attempt to intimidate the station and discourage it from supporting the opposition.

According to Latas, if the election fails, SDSM would likely run Zaev as the next presidential candidate.

Zaev was discouraged from running by the diplomatic corps, who believe he has several more assignments to do for them which no-one else is willing to undertake. But a boycott would work well with Zaev’s strong personal interest to run for President, which would allow him to stay near the top of our politics for the next five years, and would amnesty him from all his crimes, Latas adds.