The ruling SDSM party will hold an online congress today to elect a new deputy leader, after Radmila Sekerinska announced she will not seek another term. Sekerinska and Zoran Zaev led the party together since 2013, and the Defense Minister did not give a sound explanation for her decision to withdraw.
Zaev is expected to try and promote the tax authority chief Sonja Lukarevska to Sekerinska’s place. It would signal a move of conciliation to the Skopje wing of the party, which was presented by Sekerinska in the leadership, and which is sounding critical tones toward Zaev. This wing of the party is also targeted by former leader Branko Crvenkovski, who is openly calling for Zaev’s removal from the party.
Party delegates will also select a new Central and Oversight Committee. They will then select additional Vice Presidents and a Secretary General. The current Secretary General is Zaev’s loyalist Ljupco Nikolovski, while Vice Presidents are Mila Carovska, Muhamed Zekiri, Kosta Petrov and Oliver Spasovski. Zekiri is expected to be replaced in this position by Deputy Prime Minister Fatmir Bytiqi, and Healthcare Minister Venko Filipce, who has been growing closer to Zaev lately, will likely be named to this position as well.