With the municipal elections approching, SDSM announced two dozen of its mayoral candidates, and the list has some interesting characters there. In the case of Aco Velkovski, the incumbent mayor of the rural, eastern district of Lozovo, even SDSM leader Zoran Zaev voiced his reservations.

If it was up to me, maybe I would have sought a different candidate. But the citizens dominantly stand behind Ace Vasilevski, said Zaev in his not quite ringing endorsement.

The Mayor gained notoriety with his long periods of absence from work – he took 188 days off from November 2018 until this April. In this period, most of the time Velkovski was in Germany, where his family resides. For this, he was called out by citizens in Lozovo, who asked if he is serious about working on resolving their problems, or is just collecting a salary and otherr perks until he can emigrate entirely.

His term in office in 2017 began in the typical SDSM fashion – with threats and attacks aimed against the current municipal employees, who Velkovski and his supporters suspected of not being politically aligned with SDSM. A cleaning lady, Snezana Cvetkovska, was the particular target of his attacks. She told the press that other employees were banned from communicating with her, was not given a place to sit in the building and was ordered not to use the phone while at work. Social media comments from the local SDSM party branch showed activists of the ruling party using vile language against her, all while discussing ways to make sure that all those collecting public paychecks in the area are marshalled to vote for SDSM. Another employee, Violeta Spasova – Koleva, was dragged before the municipal disciplinary committee six times in three years – and was eventually fired by Mayor Vasilevski while she was pregnant. The principal of the local elementary school Gorance Velkov, was also the target of abuse, including numerous audits ordered by Velkovski.

In December 2020 the Mayor was again in the news after the municipality held a New Year raffle. The main prize, a cooking stove, somehow ended up in the hands of his daughter. When the citizens protested that the raffle was rigged, Vasilevski was pressured to donate the present.

Vasilevski is also remembered for his promise to hire Atidze Muratova, the poor bee-keeper who lives in a nearly abandoned hamlet near Lozovo. Atidze became world famous when a documentary about her life – Honeyland – won two Oscar nominations and she was plucked and sent to Hollywood. But after her return to Macedonia, Atidze again faced the same old difficult life, and only a few activists helped her build a new home and somewhat improve her condition. Vasilevski said that he will secure a steady municipal job for her, as well as ensure that she and the movie are used to promote Lozovo as a tourism destination. Neither the job nor the tourism campaign materialized.