Analysis 23 Oct 17

Macedonia Local Election Signals Gruevski's Demise

Disillusioned former supporters of VMRO DPMNE seem to have played a key role in Nikola Gruevski's catastrophic defeat on October 15, potentially terminating his career.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
 VMRO DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski. Photo: MIA

After Macedonia’s former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski suffered his shock defeat in the October 15 local elections, observers say it was the work mainly of disappointed former supporters, who had finally turned their backs on him.

The loss of staggering 120,000 votes compared to the result just ten months ago in the early general election, is being attributed to party members’ and supporters’ disappointment with Gruevski's authoritarianism and nationalistic policies, which increasingly isolated the party and undermined the country’s stability.

Some observers add that the great fall-off in votes was also due to the fact that Gruevski’s party had by then lost power nationally, and was therefore no longer able to intimidate or blackmail the voters.

“In these elections many VMRO DPMNE members said ‘no’ to Gruevski and to ‘Gruevski-ism,” Samoil Malceski, a VMRO DPMNE veteran and a long-standing Gruevski critic, said.

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