Zoran Zaev came out in favor a proposal from 15 of his allies in Parliament to amend the electoral code and roll the six electoral districts into one. The proposal also calls for adopting open lists, which allows voters to pick from a list of candidates, but Zaev didn’t endorse this move.
The electoral system is rarely changed and it’s always been done with the approval from all major parties, but Zaev indicated he may endorse a unilateral push when it is largely believed that the time is short until the April 2020 elections to change the voting system.
There is a pronounced risk that such models bring autocratic behavior in the larger parties but also a democratic path to giving a fair chance to everybody, bearing in mind the multi-ethnic character of the country, Zaev said.
It is believed that introducing a single district would allow more smaller parties to enter Parliament, which could help SDSM use the leverage of power to cobble together a coalition. Zaev insisted that his SDSM party would lose the most from such a move, insisting that it is still the largest party in the country, which is doubtful given recent polls. Members of Parliament are currently elected with a proportionate distribution of votes, in six districts, each of which elects 20 representatives. Theoretically, if a small party has broadly distributed votes, it might win a seat in a one district system, but none under the current system.
VMRO-DPMNE, on the other hand, has proposed the introduction of the first past the post system, with 120 small districts, similarly to the system used in the US and the UK. According to the opposition party, this would guarantee that the elected members of Parliament truly care for the interest of their constituents and are accountable to them, and would reduce the centralized power of the large parties.