VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski said that he expects the opposition party to win in the upcoming presidential elections. VMRO-DPMNE is in the process of selecting its candidate for the elections expected in April.

I personally expect a big win for VMRO-DPMNE at the coming presidential elections. We have transparently invited all interested candidates to apply by January 31st, and we will inform the public of the nominees. We will hold a convention to elect the candidate, said Mickoski.

President Gjorge Ivanov retires after two terms in office. The Zoran Zaev Government badly needs to have a President who would help it implement the deal with Greece to rename Macedonia into North Macedonia, which President Ivanov has refused to do.

Mickoski said that his party is in talks with ethnic Albanian parties at the highest level and that it is prepared to offer a new way of arranging inter-ethnic relations. Mickoski said that minority ethnic communities were abused in the past for their votes and this should end.

The opposition leader said that he is not prepared to support the changes to the Criminal Code which Zaev and his SDSM party have introduced, which would significantly water down mandatory sentences for abuse of office, likely allowing former and current officials charged with corruption to escape prison.

This is an exceptionally important law and any change should be approved by all political parties. VMRO-DPMNE is at their disposal. We have proposals which are in line with the GRECO standards and the international law and we are ready to present them anywhere and before anyone. But, it seems that the basic idea of this law is to create another umbrella which would be used in the future, to exert pressure on political opponents, said Mickoski.

Several of the former VMRO-DPMNE members of Parliament, whose votes Zaev will try to get this week to amend the Constitution and rename Macedonia, are facing politically motivated criminal charges and have openly asked his Government for pardons if they are to support the renaming amendments.