VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski blased Prime Minister Zoran Zaev for insisting that the census goes ahead, despite the fact that Macedonia has no vaccines. Zaev wants the census to begin next week, with teams of census takers visiting households in person – which is a major health risk given that Macedonia is in the midst of a powerful Third Wave of the epidemic.

Mickoski noted that Serbia, which has by vaccinated by far the greatest share of its population, as well as other countries like Bulgaria and Romania, have postponed their censuses, even though they have administered far more vaccines that Macedonia.

The most incompetent Government insists that it has a safe protocol for a successful census, while the best managed countries are postponing their censuses. We can’t allow the health of our citizens to be taken hostage. The census must be postponed!, Mickoski said.

VMRO-DPMNE has proposed that the census is held in September, depending on the vaccination rate and the spread of the infection. The opposition party also objects to the decision by Zaev that emigrants are counted as residents – this is a key demand from the Albanian parties in Macedonia, who are using the operation to inflate their share of the population by counting residents of Kosovo, Albania and Western European countries who have Macedonian citizenship.