Prime Minister Zoran Zaev defended his deputy Radmila Sekerinska, after an audio tape revealed that she was pressuring a member of the State Electoral Commission to vote in favor of her SDSM party during the 2013 elections.

In the tape, Sekerinska tells DUI official Fatmir Besimi on how the DUI member in the State Electoral Commission should vote, and threatens negative EU progress reports and SDSM withdrawal from the political institutions unless she has her way. The exact same type of coordination in the SEC commission vote during the same 2013 municipal elections, when done by their political opponents, was declared a crime by SDSM and led to prison sentences for two top VMRO-DPMNE and DPA officials.

The essence was the we were principled. We asked that all stick to the law, and not fall under political pressure. That is the essence. Because of this, colleagues can discuss all sorts of issues but what is important is if the discussion was about laws, about principles and criteria, or was reckless as the other side used to do, regardless of what the laws were saying, just to reach some political goals. And that is the difference between us and our political opponents, Zaev tried to persuade the press today on the latest scandal to affect his Government.

The recording was published by the US based leaker known as El Cheka, again confirming that the cache of wiretaps which Zaev and Sekerinska were using in their power-grab in 2015 was cleared of all materials that could be used against SDSM before being given to the Special Prosecutor’s Office. El Cheka has been publishing uncut tapes of materials SDSM already presented to the public, but in an editer version, and additional tapes like this one of Sekerinska and Fatmir Besimi.

Some of the former supporters of the Zaev and Sekerinska led Colored Revolution condemned the revelations of election tampering.

As deputy SDSM leader, Radmila Sekerinska had plenty of institutional ways to fight to get SEC members to vote according to the law and their conscience. She could call a press conference. She could sent out a press release, go on TV, use the social networks… A secretive phone conversation in which she tries to “persuade” Fatmir Besimi to see his own best interest, makes her intervention far removed from the minimal ethnical standards of political action. She should assume political responsibility, said journalist Branko Geroski.