Following the shock of the first round of the presidential elections, SDSM officials began to acknowledge reality and to prepare their voters for a period in the opposition.

Deputy Prime Minister Bojan Maricic was the first to own up to the facts – he said that SDSM sees a role for itself as a corrector of Government policies, clearly announcing that they will be left in opposition. Former Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski, who leads the party’s list in the 2nd electoral district, was pressed about the expectations he has from May 8th. After several evasions, during which he said he expects the “best possible result”, he eventually said that he is aware of the results of the first round and of popular sentiment.

And now, former Healthcare Minister Venko Filipce, who represents the party in the south-eastern 4th district, added that the party faces divisions, announcing a leadership challenge after the elections.

The challenge ahead of us is great, after the results of the first round. We have a difficult task ahead to improve things. It’s a difficult, but not impossible task, if we can unite before May 8th. Every party draws its strength from its unity. Unfortunately, we see a repetition of the history of 2006, and we face divisions again. Everyone who really supports SDSM, who is a social-democrat and believes in freedom, justice and equality, must not remain indifferent to this situation. An unchecked rule of VMRO-DPMNE would be a violent rule that will trample everything, Filipce said.

In 2006, SDSM faced a faction when their senior official Tito Petkovski led the party, formed a party of his own, and joined VMRO-DPMNE in a post-election coalition helping them form a Government. After the elections, a leadership struggle ensued and party leader Vlado Buckovski was deposed.

Now SDSM faces a similar faction, led by Kumanovo Mayor Maksim Dimitrievski, but his results are expected to be significantly better than those of Tito Petkovski back in the day, as are the expectations for VMRO-DPMNE, and SDSM faces a much more serious problem after the election.