- Title: North Macedonia gears up for elections postponed by coronavirus
- Date: 13th July 2020
- Summary: VMRO CAMPAIGN BILLBOARD READING (Macedonian): "STRAIGHTEN YOUR BACK, MACEDONIA" SKOPJE, NORTH MACEDONIA (JULY 13, 2020) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Macedonian) SKOPJE RESIDENT, JOVBAN TRPENOVSKI, SAYING: "I think no party will win enough votes because of a low turnout." (SOUNDBITE) (Macedonian) SKOPJE RESIDENT, STANKO JOVESKI, SAYING: "What is on offer? Nothing, only old stuff. People are tired and don't want to go to vote and I think this time, because of the pandemic, and the apathy, not enough (voters) will turn out. I expect less than 40%." (SOUNDBITE) (Macedonian) SKOPJE RESIDENT, DAMJAN DIDOEV, SAYING: "I expect measures to move us forward from the lawmakers and the government who come next, after we were allowed to begin membership talks with the EU."
- Embargoed: 27th July 2020 12:34
- Keywords: North Macedonia Skopje coronavirus elections parliamentary elections
- Location: SKOPJE, VELES AND UNKNOWN LOCATION, NORTH MACEDONIA
- City: SKOPJE, VELES AND UNKNOWN LOCATION, NORTH MACEDONIA
- Country: Macedonia
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA003CMN7XH5
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: North Macedonian parliamentary elections seen as crucial for the country's European Union membership bid are set to take place on Wednesday (July 15) after being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Opinion polls give Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) leader Zoran Zaev an edge over his rival Hristijan Mickovski from the opposition nationalist VMRO party, but the race may be close.
Polling stations will be open for two hours longer than normal (0500 - 1900GMT) in an effort to reduce crowding and the threat of infection.
But some Skopje residents said voter apathy and fears over coronavirus could result in a low turnout.
The elections will also be a test of support for Zaev, a former prime minister who is campaigning for closer integration with the EU.
Zaev was the architect of a landmark agreement with Greece over the Balkan country's name, which ended a decades-long row and was necessary for North Macedonia to progress towards EU and NATO membership.
VMRO, who were against the name change, accuse Zaev and his Social Democrats of corruption and cronyism.
Zaev called for snap elections last year after the European Union refused to set a date for accession talks, although it later said in March that they could begin.
He resigned in January to make way for an interim government headed by former interior minister Oliver Spasovski.
(Production: Ognen Teofilovski, Fedja Grulovic, Boki Babic, Natasa Bansagi, Lewis Macdonald)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None