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2019 North Macedonian presidential election

Presidential elections were held in North Macedonia on 21 April 2019. Three candidates were on the ballot in the first round; Stevo Pendarovski of the ruling Social Democratic Union of Macedonia, Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova of the nationalist opposition VMRO-DPMNE party, and Blerim Reka, an independent representing the Albanian minority. The first round did not result in an absolute majority for any candidate, but Pendarovski won against Siljanovska-Davkova in the second round on 5 May.[1]

2019 North Macedonian presidential election

← 2014 21 April 2019 (first round)
5 May 2019 (second round)
  Pentarovski2019.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Stevo Pendarovski Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova
Party SDSM VMRO-DPMNE
Popular vote 436,212 377,713
Percentage 53.59% 46.41%

NMacedonia Presidential Election 2019.png
Results of the second round by municipality.

President before election

Gjorge Ivanov
VMRO-DPMNE

Elected President

Stevo Pendarovski
SDSM

Incumbent President Gjorge Ivanov was constitutionally barred from seeking a third term in office, having previously been elected in 2009 and 2014.

Contents

Background

The elections were the first in North Macedonia after the Prespa agreement on the naming dispute, signed on 17 June 2018. A referendum was held on 30 September, in which a majority of voters approved the agreement, although turnout was far below the quorum required to validate the result, mainly because of an organized boycott of the Anti-Prespa agreement bloc. The Assembly subsequently approved the change of the country's name to "North Macedonia" on 11 January 2019, and Greece subsequently ratified the agreement and the accession protocol for NATO.

Incumbent President Gjorge Ivanov was a vocal opponent of the name change and refused to sign the laws and amendments on the matter. However, Assembly Speaker Talat Xhaferi claimed that his signature was enough to enforce the change.[2]

The name change had the support of the government coalition formed by the Social Democrats (SDSM) and the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration. The nationalist VMRO-DPMNE coalition led by Hristijan Mickoski was in favor of NATO integration but against the name change, although the change was approved in the Assembly with at least four VMRO-DPMNE MPs voting in favour.[3]

After her nomination, VMRO-DPMNE candidate Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova had promised to initiate a second referendum and restore the old name to the country if she won.[4]

Electoral system

The President of North Macedonia is elected using a modified two-round system; a candidate can only be elected in the first round of voting if they receive the equivalent of over 50% of the vote from all registered voters.[5] In the second round, voter turnout must be at least 40% for the result to be deemed valid.[6] Before 2009, the constitution required turnout in the second round to be 50% to validate the result. However, the XXXI amendment approved on 9 January 2009 lowered the threshold to 40%,[6] as the then-government feared the trend of reducing turnouts would lead to presidential elections being frequently invalidated. In the 2009 presidential elections, second round turnout was just 42.6%.[7]

The constitution mandates that the President must be over 40 years of age and have lived in the country for ten of the last fifteen years.

Opinion polls

Before and between the voting rounds, several opinion polls were conducted. The percentages of the polls below are related to only those voters who declared that they would vote for a certain candidate.

First round

Date(s) conducted Polling firm/Client Sample size/Type Pendarovski/SDSM Siljanovska/VMRO-DPMNE Reka/AA,Besa Lead
8-14 Apr 2019 Rating Agency 1,112/Face-to-face 45.5 39.5 15.0 6.0
7-11 Apr 2019 IDSCS/Telma&MCMS 967/Telephone 44.1 38.1 17.8 6.0
4-10 Apr 2019 M-Prospect/MRT 1,197/Telephone 43.2 38.8 18.0 4.4
10 Mar-10 Apr 2019 Samerimpex Impulses/MCMS 1,147/Online 50.4 41.4 8.2 9.0
23-27 Mar 2019 IPIS/Sitel 1,110/Telephone 45.9 42.7 11.3 3.2
13-19 Mar 2019 M-Prospect/Telma&MCMS 1,001/Telephone 42.9 38.4 18.7 4.5

Second round

Date(s) conducted Polling firm/Client Sample size/Type Pendarovski/SDSM Siljanovska/VMRO-DPMNE Lead
13-19 Mar 2019 M-Prospect/Telma&MCMS 1,001/Telephone 55.3 44.7 10.6

Results

To win in the first round, a candidate would have had to receive at least 904,066 votes, equivalent to 50% of the number of registered voters.

Candidate Party First round Second round
Votes % Votes %
Stevo Pendarovski Social Democratic Union of Macedonia 322,581 44.75 436,212 53.59
Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova VMRO-DPMNE 318,341 44.16 377,713 46.41
Blerim Reka Independent 79,888 11.08
Invalid/blank votes 32,696 30,440
Total 753,520 100 844,365 100
Registered voters/turnout 1,808,131 41.67 1,808,131 46.70
Source: SEC

References

  1. ^ Supporter of North Macedonia Name Change Wins Presidency. New York Times, 6 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Ivanov: Amnesty is a blackmail for votes for the Prespes Agreement". Independent Balkan News Agency. 28 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Deputies agree historic name change for Macedonia". France 24. 11 January 2019.
  4. ^ Силјановска ќе игра „втор референдум“ за Договорот од Преспа! 18.02.2019; Deutsche Welle.
  5. ^ Polls Open in Macedonia Presidential Elections Balkan Insight, 13 April 2014
  6. ^ a b Amendment XXXI Constitution of North Macedonia
  7. ^ Anna Fruhstorfer & Michael Hein (2016) Constitutional Politics in Central and Eastern Europe: From Post-Socialist Transition to the Reform of Political Systems Springer, p235