Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that he hopes there will be a “consensual” candidate for President supported by the ruling coalition of SDSM and DUI. Zaev did not clarify the criteria for a “consensual” candidate, but it is believed to mean a person acceptable to both the Macedonian and Albanian ethnic communities, a demand previous issued by DUI which wanted the right to approve the candidate.

I wish we would have a consensual candidate for all. A person who will be a father of the nation who we can all stand behind, said Zaev, who previously took himself out of the running.

Zaev said that the selection process has not begun yet because the Government is preoccupied with the process to amend the Constitution and rename Macedonia into North Macedonia. The opposition VMRO-DPMNE party already begun the process to select its own candidate.

DUI already said it approves of the idea to nominate former Foreign Minister Denko Maleski, best known for his vocal opposition to Macedonia’s independence from Yugoslavia. This was followed by the publication of a poll by a pro-Government TV station portraying Zaev in the lead, after which no new candidates were put forward by the ruling coalition.

What would a consensual candidate be according to them? A candidate approved by two parties and two political leaders? Would it be based on political deals the two make which will be revealed only after the elections?, asked Antonio Spasev, editor of the Skopje Echo newspaper, in response to the proposals for a “consensual candidate”.