Skopje Mayor Petre Silegov tried to clarify today that he was not dismissed as Vice – President of the ruling SDSM party, but that he resigned. Silegov is one of the six deputy leaders of Zoran Zaev’s party who were removed yesterday, as part of his purge of corrupt and incompetent officials.

Let’s make a distinction between the terms “dismissed”, “replaced” and “resigned”. I, and my fellow comrades, we offered our resignations last week and yesterday the Central Committee of the party accepted those resignations. And I said that our task is to take the victory we won in the presidential elections and use it to win the future general elections, so we can finally eliminate all the crassness, primitivism and fascism which VMRO-DPMNE promoted over the past 15 years, Silegov told the press today.

Zaev promised to purge his party and the Government after the poor showing in the presidential elections when the SDSM – DUI coalition lost 2/5 of its votes compared to the 2017 municipal elections. Zaev’s presidential candidate Stevo Pendarovski went on to win the elections, but only after receiving an unprecedented level of support from the ethnic Albanian opposition parties, a move which represented the unification of nearly all parties against one – VMRO-DPMNE – and watered down SDSM’s hold on power even further.

Silegov today dismissed calls for him to resign as Mayor of Skopje, a city where Pendarovski won only two central districts and the majority Albanian districts, while losing by wide margins in the bulk of the capital. Silegov said that resigning shows political integrity, and that he showed his integrity by resigning from the party position.