Northern Macedonia is voting on Wednesday to choose a new government in the middle of the second wave of the pandemic coronavirus which exacerbates the fractures in a country’s customary of political crises.
In this State of the Balkans, which has changed name to finish with a conflict in the old Greece, the management of the health crisis gives rise to accusations acrimonious.
Among the camps in the presence, the social democrats of former Prime minister Zoran Zaev. It wants to capitalize on his success in securing the West of Northern Macedonia, which has obtained the green light from Brussels for the accession negotiations and which has entered into the Nato.
In front, the right side of the VRMO-DPMNE believes that the price to pay was too strong: add “Northern” to the name of the country under a landmark agreement with Athens that boasts the exclusivity on the name “Macedonia”.
These questions of identity are, however, faded into the background because of the coronavirus, with the two sides accusing each other of being responsible for a resurgence of cases.
For months, the former yugoslav Republic is facing the situation both good and bad, with at its head a simple government technical charge of current affairs, in the absence of Parliament dissolved. His term should have ended in April, with parliamentary elections but they were postponed because of the COVID-19.
Contamination day-to-day, in this country poor in fragile health system, has grown from a few dozen to more than 150 currently. The country of less than two million inhabitants has more than 375 death.
The ministry of Health has issued specific guidelines for the election, which takes place over three days. Monday and Tuesday are reserved to the vote of the sick, soldiers, prisoners and people vulnerable. On Wednesday, voters will go to polling by observing all measures for protection.
But the fear could influence the participation.
“I’m not going to vote. They say that it is as safe as going to the supermarket but I need to go to the supermarket, I don’t need to go to vote”, said Slobodan Katusevski, 38 years.
Polls put the two rivals in a pocket handkerchief, with less than a quarter of the voting intentions each.
In recent years, the main party of the Albanian minority, the democratic Union for integration (DUI), has coalitions in siding with one side or the other. He has spent 16 of the past 18 years in a government.
This time, he claims the post of Prime minister for the price of an alliance. Its slogan: “Why not?”
Zoran Zaev as the patron of the right Hristijan Mickoski denounce a “blackmail”.
The disgruntled analyze this request as an attempt on the part of a DUI with a loss of speed in about 500,000 Albanians in the country, to divert attention from the corruption charges against him.
For the first time in parliamentary elections, the camp of Zoran Zaev is a common list, with a small party representing one ethnic Albanian community who complains of long-standing discrimination.
During the campaign, the camp of Zoran Zaev has promised to stimulate the economy.
The average salary is about 420 euros in Macedonia in the North, which suffers as elsewhere in the Balkans of the massive emigration of its youth.
“We belong to Nato, we start negotiations with the EU, now we are going to work here, on the economy,” he told Slobodna TV.
He cautioned the voters against a victory of the VMRO-DPMNE, which constitutes according to him a return to the dark hours of the long rule of Nikola Gruevski, the strong man until 2016. Convicted of corruption, he is on the run in Hungary.
The social democrats are not immune to accusations of corruption.
Mysterious tapping circulate on the social networks discrediting the two camps, both claiming to witness illegal behaviour and awkward conversations.
Voters will they be sensitive? It is Impossible to know.
“I believe that the final result will be uncertain until the last minute,” says the analyst Ljupco Petkovski.