In an interview with the MKD news site, Zoran Zaev said that the coming purge of officials from his Government will be aimed at “those who showed weakness, lack of implementation, failed to meet the expectations or demonstrated arrogance toward the citizens”.

Zaev stopped short of saying that he is purging corrupt officials, but this is widely seen as the main reason dragging the popularity of his SDSM party down, as a number of corruption scandals involving Zaev himself, and nepotistic hiring of relatives have surfaced. Zaev made the promise to purge his ranks after the disastrous showing in the first round of the presidential elections.

We can’t be satisfied with the election outcome, with the turnout or voter motivation. Political parties exist for the people and the state. We said that we will make changes in the executive, and we will make changes in the party organization, Zaev said.

Faced with the political reality that he can’t replace members of the Government from his DUI coalition partner, or from the Skopje wing of his own SDSM party, he began by ordering the heads of the 80 municipal branches of SDSM to resign, but to avoid losing their support, he immediately asked them to reapply for their position. As many of these officials also hold high public administration positions, and losing them would’ve turned them against the Prime Minister, Zaev did not ask them to resign from their lucrative sinecures.

After being pushed by the public and angry party members to begin this “operation broom”, Zaev set the date for its start at the beginning of June.