1. President Stevo Pendarovski conceded that he lost badly in the first round of the presidential elections and faces bleak outcome for the second round on May 8th.

The margin will likely be around 130,000 votes. We expected it will be smaller. But tomorrow is a new day. I will continue my meetings with citizens tomorrow as I did until now. There were seven candidates and the votes were likely diffused. Some of the candidates that are now out likely took votes that were presumed elsewhere. We begin from the start and my task will be to present the concept that I deeply believe in, the concept of a country that is not isolated, that is integrated in Europe and that has no internal divisions, Pendarovski said during a subdued press conference.

The outgoing President tried to shift the blame on his party, saying that further analysis will show whether he was punished for the low standing SDSM has in the public. He also added that the coalition this party leads is not where it used to be.

VMRO-DPMNE expects the margin of victory for Gordana Siljanovska in the first round of the elections to reach as high as 180,000, a devastating blow that SDSM is unable to compensate even if they get the votes of all ethnic Albanian parties – which is the only viable option for Pendarovski going forward. VMRO is in talks with the Albanian opposition bloc VLEN, and this plan is unlikely to work – not to mention the resentment it creates among ethnic Macedonian voters, fed up with the endless concessions SDSM made in favor of their Albanian coalition partners ot keep the Government alive.