SDSM spokesman Kostadin Kostadinov threatened that elections may be canceled altogether and not happen in 2020 at all, unless they take place in July 5, as the ruling party insists. The 2016 elections took place on December 11, but the parties agreed to hold early elections in April, that have now been postponed due to the coronavirus.

We are entering an area of critical deadlines and it could easily happen that we don’t have elections even in the regularly scheduled date in December. We can’t predict what happens this autumn, said Kostadinov.

His party was pushing desperately for elections in late June, and now in early July, hoping that the low turnout will benefit them, as will avoiding the worst of the expected economic downturn. The opposition has refused this, and points to the major spike in newly diagnosed cases and deaths as a reason to avoid having an unnecessary massive gathering of citizens in cramped polling stations.

The official reasons SDSM put forward for this push ranged from what they said is the need to have newly legitimized institutions in the country to “the right to a summer vacation” that SDSM said would be obstructed if the elections take place in August. European Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi today warned that the elections require allowing that parties have the time to campaign in full, a clear rebuke of SDSM, which has been campaigning over the past weeks while the other, opposition parties, were responsibly avoiding large gatherings. Several dozen high and mid level SDSM officials are currently either diagnosed with Covid-19 or in quarantine after holding party meetings and campaign events that included infected officials.