In an interview with Telma TV, VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski called on Prime Minister Zoran Zaev to explain what it the nature of the agreement he made with the Albanian parties, especially Ali Ahmeti’s DUI, to secure their support for his presidential candidate Stevo Pendarovski in the second round of the elections. Pendarovski was elected President only with the near-unanimous turnout of Albanian voters, from DUI and from the opposition parties, in his favor, and Mickoski said that this was achieved by additional concessions on the part of Zaev.

There are growing speculations that between the two rounds of the elections, Zaev had a meeting in Tetovo where he secured support for Pendarovski by agreeing to frther redefine the Republic of Macedonia. We now hear Pendarovski offer a redrawing of the electoral map of Macedonia, which immediately raised comments in the public that it could be a percursor of a drawing of new borders. Pendarovski seems to have not been informed about this meeting, Mickoski said.

Pendarovski endorsed a proposal to reduce the number of electoral districts in Macedonia. It calls for the merger of the six districts into three. Under the proposal the one majority Albanian district – district 6 which covers Tetovo and Gostivar, would be merged with the 5th district which includes Bitola and Ohrid. A significant concentration of Albanian voters would also be achieved with the proposed merger of the 1st and 2nd districts which cover Skopje and Kumanovo, while the third district formed with the merger of current districts 3 and 4 would be almost exclusively Macedonian and would cover the central and eastern part of the country.

During the interview, Mickoski also addressed the controversial law which should govern the 2020 census, and which provides that emigrants would be counted along with the residents, using online apps. It’s a key request from the Albanian parties, who face a significant drop as a share of population due to large emigration. VMRO raised the prospect of boycotting the census if the opposition is not involved in the preparation of the law.

We are not opposed to holding a census. But what is being fast-tracked without a say from the opposition is contrary to European standards, and resembles more a political trade in which Zaev is paying back his debts. The way it is proposed, it would include all individuals who have once obtained a citizenship number, but there is no knowing if they still live in Macedonia, or are even alive, Mickoski said.