The parties have begun to slowly announce their candidates for the presidency of Macedonia. Biljana Vankovska’s candidacy was the first to be announced, followed by the Albanian opposition declaring Arben Taravari as their candidate. Fearing a loss of support among Albanians who favor the European Union for Change, DUI also indicates that finding a candidate is “difficult.”

According to party announcements, the choice will be between leader Ali Ahmeti or Minister of Foreign Affairs Bujar Osmani. Polls suggest an evenly matched first round between the incumbent Albanian candidate and the opposition. VMRO-DPMNE will select its presidential candidate on March 2, with several contenders in the running. However, the smaller coalition partner in the government, SDSM, faces a unique challenge. Panic has set in within the popular “Bihaćka” after DUI declared its own candidate, leaving social democrats struggling to finalize their choice. Initially, the plan was to align with DUI, given their declining popularity.

SDSM has conducted internal measurements and polls indicating that the current president, Stevo Pendarovski, holds the highest rating. Ironically, Pendarovski’s popularity among the public is dismal, earning him the nickname “Stevo 0.2 percent.”

Party polls also reveal that the second candidate has a rating twice as low as Pendarovski. The identity of this second candidate remains uncertain, though Radmila Šekerinska, Oliver Spasovski, and even Venko Filipce are mentioned. Professor Nenad Marković shares a similar opinion, stating that SDSM currently lacks a better presidential option than Pendarovski.