The new Prime Minister Kovacevski is at a disadvantage – the possibility of early elections?
On January 17, a new prime minister, Dimitar Kovacevski, who replaced the outgoing Zoran Zaev, took office in Northern Macedonia. Kovacevski faces many challenges, from resolving domestic crises to negotiations with Bulgaria.
The election of a new prime minister seemed to halt the issue of the early parliamentary elections. But unfortunately, Kovacevski seized the office in the ongoing energy crisis and as the country needs to improve social policy.
Less than a month after the announcement, the prime minister came to a disadvantage, proposing a reform of the electoral system that could trigger early elections in Northern Macedonia.
First of all, the strongest opposition party VMRO-DPMNE, which has ruled since 2006 till 2017, announced in January 2022 that it was ready to consider the long-standing demand of smaller political parties to abolish the six constituencies of Northern Macedonia in favour of only one, thus increasing the chances for smaller political entities to enter the Parliament.
The parties demanding the abolition of constituencies even conditioned their support for the government on the reform during the first three months of Kovacevski’s term. If the electoral system does not change within 90 days, it will likely cause the government to fall.
Several smaller parties have been calling for this proposal for years, arguing that a single constituency would make obtaining seats fairer and more accessible. The former PM, Zoran Zaev, initiated this proposal, and the current PM continues with the idea.
On the one hand, the change could help give an accurate representation of the people’s political affiliation, as expected from the elections. But, on the other hand, if the proposal does not pass within a month – especially without the support of larger parties, North Macedonia will find itself in a political “vacuum” once again and will have to elect a new prime minister and government.