Even as SDSM is trying to present its new party leadership as a clean break and a group of fresh faces, they carry tremendous baggage, both from the Zaev era, and from the previous period of Branko Crvenkovski. New party leader Kovacevski removed many of Zaev’s top officials from the party leadership, but those that remain also raise serious issues.

Among them is Skopje Mayor Petre Silegov, who is named to the SDSM Executive Board, and is a likely Transportation Minister in the cabinet Kovacevski is expected to propose. This despite the fact that in his four years in office as Mayor of the capital, Silegov built no major new infrastructure except for a bridge that currently leads to a row of houses and is unlikely to be put in use any time soon.

The construction Silegov was more interested in includes a large ski lodge in Mavrovo on over 300 square meters and a major upgrade to his family home, conducted without a permit.

Kovacevski will keep Sanja Lukarevska as Deputy Leader, a position she was elevated to in March, after the resignation of Radmila Sekerinska. Her term was marred by the allegations that she allowed companies owned by the Zaev family to avoid paying huge sums in taxes.

Fatmir Bytiqi remains as Vice President of the party. His term, as Zaev’s Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the economy is best remembered by the spike in inflation and the major energy crisis Macedonia is now experiencing. Another new deputy party leader is Stefan Bogoev, who was deeply involved in the major Racket scandal, during which it was revealed that he was negotiating giving away public land in the municipality of Karpos, where he was Mayor, to showman Bojan Jovanovski – Boki 13.

VMRO-DPMNE official Dragan Kovacki held a press conference today to discuss the new lineup of SDSM. He pointed to the fact that a top official under Kovacevski, as Secretary General of SDSM, will be former secret police chief Mile Zecevic. Kovacki said that Zecevic is responsible for organizing election irregularities across the country in the past several years.

On the return to the party of Igor Ivanovski – Shema, who was once right hand man of party leader Branko Crvenkovski, Kovacki said that his 30 years long career brought nothing memorable or good to Macedonia. He pointed to the new Executive Board member Nina Fiti as the daughter of Taki Fiti, economist whose policies allowed the murky privatization of publicly owned companies after the collapse of Communism, which led to the loss of 200,000 industrial sector jobs and the collapse of several branches of industry in Macedonia.

Kovacevski is a continuation of Zaevism in our politics. He is adopting and now expanding the Zaev policies. Kovacevski was Deputy Finance Minister when our debt hit historic highs, when the inflation and the energy prices spiked, Kovacki added.