SDSM party official Edmond Ademi declared his party as the second largest party for ethnic Albanians in Macedonia. SDSM has been courting the Albanian vote since 2016, as it continues to lose ethnic Macedonian voters by a growing margin to VMRO-DPMNE.

I am an Albanian who is a Minister from SDSM, the head of the party’s foreign policy commission is an Albanian, so is the head of the “one society” commission and we have three Albanian members of Parliament, Ademi said, ticking off the reasons why Albanians should vote for SDSM.

But this push has angered the traditionally Albanian parties such as DUI, who see SDSM encroaching on their turf. Albanian votes will also be split among the opposition Albanian parties such as the Alliance of Albanians and Alternative, who are preparing for a pre-election coalition, and BESA.

SDSM senses that its share of the Albanian vote would not be enough for it to win the elections, so Zoran Zaev proposed a pre-election coalition with DUI. But the largest Albanian party rejected the idea, fearing it will completely lose its position if it joins forces with a party that is reducing its base.