The push of the ruling SDSM party to hold elections as soon as possible, despite Macedonia having by far the worst coronavirus statistics in the entire Balkan region, has alarmed the public. SDSM has apparently decided that the party can improve its sagging fortunes by holding a low turnout vote, while most of the citizens are still deeply alarmed by the epidemic, and is pushing for a date in early July.
Meanwhile, the daily death toll has surpassed even what was believed to have been the peak of the epidemic in late April, Macedonia registers more newly diagnosed Covid-19 patients in a day than the rest of the Balkans combined, and a growing number of top SDSM officials are testing positive after spending days on the campaign trail. In response, opposition has proposed safer dates, in August and September, and announced it will boycott the election if Zaev goes ahead with his plan.
This readiness on the part of Zaev to push his own voters in harms way prompted a Downfall meme video that was shared widely yesterday. In it, the SDSM party leadership is portrayed gathered in Hitler’s bunker, as Zaev (Hitler) berates his closest advisers (Healthcare Minister Venko Filipce, PR guru Kosta Petrov, interim Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski) for failing to control the epidemic. “My entire party is outside the door, I don’t know who among you has the virus and who doesn’t. You were all in contact with Muhamed Zekiri and Sanja Lukarevska, they contaminated my entire party. Zekiri with his iftar visits. You’re all incompetent! You’ll send me to a mad house at age 45”, Zaev is portrayed as ranting in the video.