North Macedonia will stage parliamentary elections on Wednesday, July 15. According to opinion polls, the election will be closely contested between the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), led by former Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, and Hristijan Mickoski's Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE). Authorities have announced that voting will continue until 21:00 (local time) and that social distancing and the use of face masks will be enforced at polling stations due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Political rallies and demonstrations are possible during the election period.
Former Prime Minister Zoran Zaev resigned in January following the failure to set a date for talks regarding North Macedonia's accession to the EU. A caretaker government under Oliver Spasovski was established in order to facilitate elections. Polls suggest that neither party may win the 61 seats required to form a government, meaning that a coalition government with the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) may occur. VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski has accused the SDSM government of corruption and economic mismanagement, in addition to the drawing on opposition to the country's name change to facilitate the country's accession to NATO. The SDSM continues to promise accession to the EU and economic revival.
Those in North Macedonia are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all large public gatherings as a precaution, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments, and refrain from discussing politically sensitive topics in public.
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