During my recent visit to Brussels, for the political assembly of the European People’s Party, I warned the members of European Parliament about the difficult situation in Macedonia and the attempts of the Zoran Zaev Government to rig the coming presidential elections.

I met with a number of European Parliament members from our sister parties, and two of the three rapporteurs on Macedonia, Ivo Vajgl and Eduard Kukan. I also had an opportunity to meet with the EPP head of the Foreign Affairs Committee David McAllister and EPP President Joseph Daul, who shortly after our meeting went out with a statement. I met MEPs Zver, Kovatchev and others. I expressed our concerns and the concerns of the people and they were able to hear the truth, which is different from the rose colored story pushed by the Zaev Government. I conveyed our concern that Zoran Zaev plans to steal the presidential elections, like he did with the referendum and the local elections, Mickoski told Alfa TV in an interview in Struga, where the party is holding its retreat with NDI experts.

The VMRO leader pointed to the voting irregularities during the September 2018 referendum, when, as he said, there were polling stations where votes were allegedly cast every 2.4 seconds – a clear indication of ballot stuffing – as evidence that the coming presidential election will also be rigged.

VMRO-DPMNE submitted evidence to the Public Prosecutor’s Office but to this day there is no response and we don’t know if an investigation or a procedure was ever initiated. There were polling stations where turnout was no higher than 50 percent in the last several rounds of elections, but in September the turnout went up to incredible 98 percent. If this is not indication of electioral theft, I have no idea what is, Mickoski said.

His party demands that early general elections are held along with the presidential elections, because this includes a resignation by Zoran Zaev and several of his key ministers, who will be replaced with opposition candidates in order to ensure that the vote is free and fair.

We also see out of control hiring in the public administration, the city of Skopje is hiring 700 new employees, other public institutions are doing the same. This is done to satisfy the army of SDSM party loyalists which will also be used to manipulate the elections, Mickoski said.

Another reason which indicates that SDSM will try to rig the vote, Mickoski added, is the open infighting in the ruling party over who will be the nominee. Zaev recently said that he himself is too young to run for President, Mickoski noted, but that leaves his preferred candidate Oliver Spasovski out in the cold, given that he is two years younger than Zaev. His main rivals, like Nikola Dimitrov and Radmila Sekerinska, are also barely older than Zaev.

This Versailles like inter-party intrigues they are having in SDSM give us reason to believe that we will have badly organized elections, Mickoski told Alfa TV.