VMRO-DPMNE presidential candidate Gordana Siljanovska – Davkova saw her excellent result in the first round of the elections as a victory of the opposition against the Government led by Zoran Zaev. With the votes nearly tallied, Siljanovska is neck and neck with Stevo Pendarovski, the candidate behind whom stands the combined weight of the two ruling parties, Zaev’s SDSM, but also his coalition partner DUI. Siljanovska said that her win in the first round is a clear sign that Macedonia must hold early general elections.

If the Government is serious, it would start thinking about being true to its word for once. The sovereignty comes from the people, Siljanovska said, calling on the Zaev Government to fulfill its promise and call early general elections.

The first female presidential candidate of a major political party painted her opponents as relics from both the period of Communism and the murky post-Communist period known as the “transition”. “We need to put an end to the transition, its profiteers, semi-literate improvisers and make room for people who know what is to be done”, she added.

While her margin of victory over Pendarovski is unlikely to be more than a few thousand votes, Siljanovska made a pitch for the more than 70.000 votes won by the ethnic Albanian opposition candidate Blerim Reka, whose coalition is eager to delegitimize the Albanian ruling party DUI. In his first remarks after the vote, Reka indicated he will not endorse a candidate in the second round but his coalition joined VMRO-DPMNe in asking for early general elections.

I’m not a person prone to triumphalism, I know the battle is yet to come, but given the number of votes we won, and if we add to them the votes won by the other opposition candidate Blerim Reka, the situation is clear. Both of us spoke about the rule of law and the importance of justice. The results show that the opposition not only appealed to the citizens, but persuaded them that in the absence of the rule of law and justice, we can keep talking about EU and NATO, but we will do just that – talk. It is only with meeting the basic Copenhagen criteria for EU membership – the rule of law criteria, we will be able to open the EU accession talks, said Siljanovska in her celebratory remarks in the VMRO-DPMNE main office in Skopje.