Gordana Siljanovska, the opposition candidate at the coming presidential elections, hit back at critics from the left who compared the law professor to a “potted plant”, telling that they’ll find out “I’m a cactus”.

I was made a moving target for the countless pro-Government media outlets who shot their poisoned arrows at me, Siljanovska said after Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and other SDSM officials and affiliated journalists began a campaign against the VMRO-DPMNE nominee.

The leftist critics are attempting to negatively cast Siljanovska using their frequent slur at incumbent President Gjorge Ivanov, calling her “the ficus” or potted plant. The left tried to make the slur stick to Ivanov while prodding him to be critical of the previous VMRO-DPMNE Government, with which Ivanov cooperated during most of his term.

Siljanovska faces a far different political environment, with SDSM concentrating the levers after their power grab in 2017, to the point of taking over even the municipal authority and pressuring VMRO-DPMNE members of Parliament to join them in a two thirds parliamentary majority. Siljanovska responded that it is these 81 members of Parliament who vote with Zaev who would be best compared to potted plants.

I will not be a ficus. I belong to the cactus family, in terms of critical thinking and acting, Siljanovska responded.

The first woman presidential candidate of a major political party also faced many sexist and ageist forms of criticism from SDSM supporters, attacking her looks.