While the public in Macedonia is alarmed by the spiking coronavirus deaths and infections, the two ruling parties, SDSM and DUI, opened a dispute over whether an ethnic Albanian will be appointed as next Prime Minister.

The issue was raised by DUI party leader Ali Ahmeti, who said that it is the next goal of his party, that was born out of the UCK/NLA terrorist movement that Macedonian security forces in 2001. SDSM leader Zoran Zaev quickly responded that if DUI conditions its participation in the next Government with having an ethnic Albanian Prime Minister, then DUI will not join the next Government.

This prompted sarcastic comments, such as one from journalist Branko Geroski, once loyal SDSM supporter who has since reported on a number of corruption scandals involving Zaev: “Now that Zaev said that an Albanian won’t be Prime Minister, there is high likelihood we get an Albanian as Prime Minister”. Zaev famously promised that he won’t rename Macedonia, amend the Constitution or turn it into a bilingual country – and has since violated all these promises.

DUI and SDSM are fighting for the Albanian vote, along with an opposition bloc led by the Alliance of Albanians. Albanian voters have become crucial for SDSM as the party loses support among ethnic Macedonians with all the concessions on national identity issues it has perpetrated, as well as its numerous corruption scandals.

Asked about the controversy, the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party declined to get involved in the nationalist exchange between SDSM and DUI. “For VMRO-DPMNE, the main focus now is on our number one problem, which is the coronavirus and the dark toll of newly infected citizens”, a VMRO representative told Republika.