An audio tape of Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska, apparently made during the online congress of the SDSM party on Sunday, was leaked. In it, Sekerinska is heard giving veiled criticism of her party and warning about “falling in the usual traps”.

Sekerinska withdrew herself from running for another term as deputy leader of SDSM, and was promptly replaced by the tax authority chief Sanja Lukarevska. Zoran Zaev praised her as his “comrade” and thanked her for the work during SDSM’s powergrab and the imposing of the name change on Macedonia. But it seems that the congress was not all sweetness and light. Her comments that were leaked in the brief video are unspecific and vague, seemingly because she realized that with hundreds of people on the call the congress is being recorded, but they struck a dark note.

We must talk about some things. I’m concerned and I absolutely hope I’m not right about this. I’m concerned that on some issues we are falling in the usual traps. We are closing our eyes to problems that only we can solve. I’m concerned from the feeling that if we keep silent about problems, they do not exist. But they only grow. I’m concerned that we find it suspicious when someone expresses a position, be it right or wrong, but not when he sacrifices his positions for some personal goal. I’m concerned that we trust more into people who were avoiding us and distanced themselves from us, and less in those who suffered with us. I hope that it is just my perception – that we are just mumbling about some things but not talking about them and trying to resolve the problem. It only harms the party, Sekerinska is heard saying.

Sekerinska is believed to be angling for a position as Ambassador to Washington, at a time when Zaev is facing growing corruption scandals – one of which was disclosed by a media outlet close to Sekerinska. With her removal, the loyalty of the Skopje wing of the party to Zaev is brought into question.