SDSM party leader Zoran Zaev became absent minded and tuned out during the second portion of the meeting of party leaders convened by President Stevo Pendarovski yesterday, the Lider news site reports quoting participants at the meeting. According to Lider, Justice Minister Renata Deskoska took over for Zaev, and was talking for him or whispering to him before he spoke. The SDSM leader was mostly staring blankly and largely stayed out of the discussion for much of the second half of the meeting where party leaders were gathered to discuss a way out of the political crisis.

There were a number of legal issues which Zaev was not interested to discuss or possibly didn’t understand fully, and Deskoska, who was there as part of the delegation led by the interim Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski, would quietly brief Zaev. Menawhile, Zaev’s companion, SDSM party Secretary General Ljupco Nikolovski, spent the meeting texting what was being said to the SDSM PR team, who briefed the press.

Some of the party leaders joked with Zaev, that he “turned Swedish”, pushing for early elections before the crisis has been resolved as if he wants to practice acquiring “herd immunity” on the voters. In response, Zaev just rattled off the dates when the elections should take place, which he later also repeated to the press, as if he had them learnt by heart before the meeting. Zaev insists on elections three weeks after the state of emergency is lifted and has prepared a number of dates in June and early July, depending on when President Pendarovski would end the emergency.

Even during the breaks from the official discusson, Zaev kept repeating that the elections must be held early in the summer, as there will be no other chance in autumn, Lider reports. He publicly speculated with a second wave of the epidemic, which he says will require a new Government, even though many in the public believe that the main driving factors are the hpoe that low turnout during a “corona election” in June would help SDSM, as well as the wish to have the vote before the economy loses any more ground.