After Zoran Zaev invited Hristijan Mickoski to a meeting to discuss his Government’s guarantees that the coming presidential elections will be free and fair, the opposition leader responded that Zaev is violating all necessary pre-conditions for fair elections.

Mickoski reminded Zaev of the conduct of the failed September 2018 referendum, when his Government, desperate to reach the 50% turnout, allowed massive ballot stuffing in Albanian parts of the country. The referendum still failed, with a turnout of barely 36 percent, and Zaev is not allowing his prosecutors to investigate the clear evidence of electoral fraud.

Holding free and democratic presidential elections should be a mandatory condition for Macedonia to prove that it should be part of the European structures and of the European Union. If we see a repeat of the referendum, when voters voted every 2.4 seconds, where we had turnout over 95 percent in some districts where in 4-5 previous votes the turnout was below 50 percent, it means that the candidate of the ruling majority will have a privileged postiion, Mickoski said in an interview with Alfa TV, where he cited the data provided by the State Electoral Commission which clearly indicates massive ballot stuffing and electoral fraud.

Mickoski named other, more subtle forms of electoral fraud, such as the deluge of hiring in the public sector where Zaev’s supporters are being employed to ensure they keep voting for him, and the timed payment of farm subsidies, which is also being tied with the vote in the agricultural districts.