Presidential race and Candidates’ activities Continue

Another televised debate between the three presidential candidates was held on Friday. On MTV1 TV, the candidate supported by the SDSM-led coalition, Stevo Pendarovski, the candidate supported by the VMRO-DPMNE-led coalition, Gordana Siljanovska Davkova, and the candidate supported by the Alliance for Albanians and BESA, Blerim Reka, talked and answered questions about many issues, including the transition period in the 1990s, the protests against Tetovo University in the same decade and VMRO-DPMNE’s rule from 2006 to 2017. Also, they presented parts of their election programmes. The same day, the candidates and parties backing them continued their regular activities within the frameworks of the presidential race. Pendarovski met citizens in several places, including Aracinovo and Gazi Baba, Siljanovska Davkova went to Prilep, while Reka had activities in Kicevo. On Saturday, Pendarovski addressed a rally in Strumica, where SDSM leader Zoran Zaev, too, was among the participants, VMRO-DPMNE organised a central rally in Skopje, where both the leader of the opposition party, Hristijan Mickoski, and Siljanovska Davkova levelled fierce criticism at the current government, while Reka talked about his concept in Gostivar. At the event in Gostivar, BESA leader Bilall Kasami called for support in order for Reka to become the first President from the non-majority ethnic communities. Alliance for Albanians leader Ziadin Sela, too, delivered an address. Also on Saturday, DUI leader Ali Ahmeti, whose party is supporting Pendarovski in the race, stated during a visit to Tearce that a vote for the consensual candidate would benefit all citizens in Macedonia, not only ethnic Albanians. On Sunday, SDSM held its central rally in the capital. “Since the independence, there has only been one road towards progress. It goes through the EU and NATO,” Pendarovski state. Zaev once again said he expected a date for a start of negotiations with the Union in June. In response, VMRO-DPMNE said SDSM’s rally was a debacle. “Pendarovski and Zaev had to bring half-empty buses from the whole country to fill as little as they can the area outside the stage from which they were lying to the arrived activists,” Mickoski’s party pointed out in the press-release. The opposition party held rallies in Veles and Sveti Nikole, while Reka met citizens in Zelino. Sunday also saw another televised debate, on Sitel TV, in which the candidates talked about several topics, including the Prespa Agreement, interethnic relations and conditions for fair elections.