With time running out to the second round of the local elections, Zoran Zaev held a rally in Skopje’s Boris Trajkovski sports hall, to try to motivate his supporters. His Skopje mayoral candidate Petre Silegov was 8,000 votes behind Danela Arsovska in the first round and Zaev staked the survival of his Government on Silegov beating Arsovska in the second round.

His choice for guest speaker for the rally was curious though – techno DJ Mirko Popov was presented as the archetypal urban Skopjan, with his baggy trousers and slurred speech. “Skopje is a diagnosis”, Mirko exclaimed before the sparse audience. He is lately best known for his blood-thirsty threats aimed at opponents of Zoran Zaev on the social media, topping his past comments that, if he had power, he would “burn down all the churches” in Macedonia. Under Silegov, he would often win grants from the city for his “cultural projects”.

Zaev’s main promise from the rally was that he will spur the public administration to answer citizen complaints faster.

This evening I give a clear order, a directive, to all municipal organizations, to all our mayors, ministers and directors. This is game change. The problems of the citizens are coming to the surface, we are flooded with messages from them, about their problems. We are introducing a new system where every citizen will have to receive a response, first, that his complaint or request have been received, and then, directions that every institution will work on resolving the problem. A new system, comrades. Rules and procedures. Whoever reported a problem, will receive an answer, no matter who he is. A system of services, Zaev said.

He insisted that the major defeat of his party in the first round is not due to wrong-headed policies, or his autocratic rule, but due to the fact that he and other officials were not personally available enough to all citizens. This has become a common theme after SDSM won only one major urban center in the first round, while VMRO-DPMNE won about 10.