SDSM supporters hire a brass band to celebrate their win in the mayoral “corona elections” in Stip

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Activists of the ruling SDSM party, led by their mayoral candidate Sasko Nikolov, who is a doctor, held a loud celebration of their election win on Sunday evening. Nikolov ran practically unopposed, except for a few small party candidates who were there to help him reach the turnout necessary to win in the first round.

Stip was devastated by the coronavirus epidemic – the city is home to a number of large textile mills, and the virus has spread early and wide, making it persistently one of the worst affected cities in Macedonia. And still, trying to score a propaganda coup in a period when piles of bad news have accumulated from their foreign to their economic policies, the SDSM party brought supporters and a brass band to the city square to celebrate the fact that it managed to draw more or less the same number of voters (11,000) as it did during the July 15 general elections. Regular general elections are scheduled to take place in less than a year, making the vote in Stip and in the rural municipality of Plasnica, whose original mayors were named to the Government and the Parliament respectively, and holding this vote was seen as completely unnecessary by the broader public.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev claimed that the election was safe for the voters. “The citizens of Stip showed their sense of duty toward their city and voted to allow it to continue to grow”, Zaev said. Opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski told Zaev that soon enough, at the municipal elections in fall, he will see how the two main parties actually stand in Stip.