Social Democratic Union of Macedonia

The Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (Macedonian: Социјалдемократски сојуз на МакедонијаСДСМ, Socijaldemokratski Sojuz na MakedonijaSDSM, Albanian: Lidhja socialdemokrate e Maqedonisë-LSDM) is a social-democratic[3] political party, and the main centre-left[4] party in North Macedonia.[5] The Social Democratic Union of Macedonia was founded on 20 April 1991 at the 11th Congress of the League of Communists of Macedonia, when it was transformed into the SDSM. Branko Crvenkovski was elected as the party's first president. Its current leader is Dimitar Kovačevski. The Social Democratic Union of Macedonia is a member of the Progressive Alliance and an associate affiliate of the Party of European Socialists (PES). The party supported a practical solution to the Macedonian naming dispute with Greece, which succeeded under the Prespa agreement.

Social Democratic Union of Macedonia
Социјалдемократски сојуз на Македонија
Lidhja Socialdemokrate e Maqedonisë
LeaderDimitar Kovačevski
Secretary-GeneralMile Zecevic
Deputy LeaderRadmila Šekerinska
FounderBranko Crvenkovski
FoundedApril 20, 1991 (1991-04-20)
Preceded bySKM
Youth wingSocial Democratic Youth of Macedonia
IdeologySocial democracy[1]
Political positionCentre-left[2]
National affiliationWe Can
European affiliationParty of European Socialists (associate)
International affiliationProgressive Alliance
ColoursRed and white
31 / 120
16 / 81
Party flag
Знаме на СДСМ.svg

From September 1992 to 1998 and from 2002 to 2006 the SDSM was the largest party in the parliament and the main party in the government, and has shown a moderate and re-conciliatory attitude towards ethnic minorities in North Macedonia. On the first parliamentary elections in 1990, the party finished second behind VMRO-DPMNE and was part of the national unity government from 1991 to 1992. From 1992 to 1994 SDSM was in a coalition government with the Liberal Party and the Socialist Party. SDSM won the parliamentary elections in 1994 and 2002 and won the most municipalities at the local elections in 1996, 2000 and 2005. From September 2006 to December 2016 SDSM was the biggest opposition party in the parliament. On early parliamentary elections in late 2016, SDSM led the center to left-wing coalition "For life in Macedonia" and won ~440,000 votes and 49/120 MPs in the Macedonian assembly, the second best result in the party's history, after the win at the parliament elections in 2002; SDSM lost the popular vote to VMRO-DPMNE who won ~450,000 votes and gained 51 parliamentary seats. However, SDSM managed to form a government coalition with various minority parties.

History and election resultsEdit

The Social Democratic Union of Macedonia was established on 20 April 1991. Its roots can be traced to 1943 upon the formation of the Communist Party of Macedonia (KPM) during World War II in the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia. The KPM became the League of Communists of Macedonia in 1952 and was the ruling party of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia.

The party lost the 1998 elections, but at the legislative elections, 15 September 2002, the party became the strongest party winning 60 out of 120 seats in the Assembly of Macedonia as the major party of the Together for Macedonia alliance, led by SDSM and the Liberal Democratic Party. Together for Macedonia ruled in coalition with the Democratic Union for Integration.

The longstanding former leader of the party was Branko Crvenkovski, who served as prime minister of Macedonia from 1992 to 1998 and from 2002 to 2004. Crvenkovski was then elected on the Social Democratic ticket to become President of Macedonia a post that he held until May 2009. The Presidency was handed to Vlado Bučkovski, who was the party leader and Prime Minister until the 2006 Parliamentary elections. The SDSM is a member of the Progressive Alliance and an associate affiliate of the Party of European Socialists (PES). On 30 November 2005 one of the most prominent members of the SDSM, Tito Petkovski, who ran for president in 1999 and came in second place, left the party to form the New Social Democratic Party. This is the second major split from the SDSM, the first one being the 1993 split of Petar Gošev, who has established the Democratic Party.

At the parliamentary elections in North Macedonia held in 2008, the coalition Sun (of which SDSM was the leading party) was defeated, receiving 27 of the 120 seats. At the last local elections from 2009, the Social Democrats won in 8 out of 84 municipalities in the country.[6] The Social Democratic Union of Macedonia is the second largest political party and the main opposition party in the country. In May 2009, after finishing the 5-year-term of President of the Republic of Macedonia, Branko Crvenkovski returned to the SDSM and was reelected leader of the party. He reorganized the party profoundly,[7] but resigned after the party's defeat in the 2013 local elections. In June 2013, Zoran Zaev was elected as the new leader.

The party was defeated in the 2014 general elections by the VMRO–DPMNE, but the results were not recognized and the opposition parties boycotted the Parliament. From February to May 2015 Zaev released wiretapped material that alleged Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski for illegally spying more than 20,000 citizens. In May, large protests including SDSM members began in Skopje. Large crowds gathered to protest on May 17, demanding resignation from Gruevski, who refused to step down and organized a pro-government rally the following day. The number of protesters was estimated to be more than 40,000. Zaev claimed the number of protesters reached 100,000, and said that some of them will remain there until Gruevski resigns. European Union diplomats offered to mediate a solution to the crisis. The political crisis was exceeded with the Pržino Agreement from July 2015, which obliged a transitional government with SDSM from November 2015, resignation from Gruevski in January 2016, and an early parliament elections on 11 December 2016. On the elections on 11 December 2016 the party won almost 440 000 and 49 MP which was the second best result in SDSM's history, after the result from 2002. In February 2017, Zaev began negotiations with junior partners to form parliament majority.

Prior to the 2020 parliamentary elections, the party rebranded, changing its logo to be similar to other European social-democratic parties, and changing its primary colour to red. After the disappointing results in the 2021 local elections in North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev stepped down as the party's president.[8] On 12 December 2021, the party's internal leadership elections were held and the current deputy Finance Minister, Dimitar Kovačevski, was elected as the party's new president.[9]

Party leadersEdit

The old logo of SDSM.
Old party flag.

Electoral historyEdit

Presidential electoral history of Social Democratic Union of Macedonia
Election Party candidate Votes % Votes % Result
First Round Second Round
1994 Kiro Gligorov 715,087 78.4% - - Elected  Y
1999 Tito Petkovski 343,606 33.1% 513,614 46.8% Lost  N
2004 Branko Crvenkovski 385,347 42.5% 550,317 62.6% Elected  Y
2009 Ljubomir Frčkoski 202,691 20.54% 264,828 36.86% Lost  N
2014 Stevo Pendarovski 326,164 38.56% 398,077 42.67% Lost  N
2019 322,581 44.75% 436,212 53.59% Elected  Y
Assembly electoral history of Social Democratic Union of Macedonia
Election Party leader In coalition with Votes % Seats +/– Position Government
(Coalition totals) (Coalition totals)
1990 Petar Goshev None 220,748 27.70%
31 / 120
  31   2nd Government
1994 Branko Crvenkovski LPM-SPM 329,700 53.50%
95 / 120
  64   1st Government
1998 None 279,799 25.14%
30 / 120
  60   2nd Opposition
2002 LDP-DPT-DLB-USR-DPD 494,744 41.58%
60 / 120
  33   1st Government
2006 Vlado Bučkovski LDP-DPT-DLB-USR-DPD 218,164 23.31%
32 / 120
  30   2nd Opposition
2008 Radmila Šekerinska NSDS-LDP- LPM 233,284 23.64%
27 / 120
  5   2nd Opposition
2011 Branko Crvenkovski NSDP-NSDP-SEB-LPM-SPS-PPER-UTLS-SSD 368,496 32.78%
42 / 120
  15   2nd Opposition
2014 Zoran Zaev NSDP-LDP-UM-SPER 283,955 26.22%
34 / 120
  8   2nd Opposition
2016 NSDP-LDP-DOM-SPER 436,981 37.87%
49 / 120
  15   2nd Government
2020 "We Can"
327,408 35.89%
46 / 120
  3   1st Government

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram (2020). "North Macedonia". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  2. ^ Gardner, Andrew (23 May 2014). "Convincing election win for prime minister of Macedonia". POLITICO Europe.
  3. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram (2020). "North Macedonia". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  4. ^ Gardner, Andrew (23 May 2014). "Convincing election win for prime minister of Macedonia". POLITICO Europe.
  5. ^ Janusz Bugajski (2002). Political Parties of Eastern Europe: A Guide to Politics in the Post-Communist Era. M.E. Sharpe. pp. 739–. ISBN 978-1-56324-676-0. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  6. ^ Vecer newspaper Archived 2011-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Makfax Independent News Agency
  8. ^ "North Macedonia's prime minister resigns over disappointing local election results". Euronews. Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  9. ^ "North Macedonia Ruling Party Elects Dimitar Kovacevski as Leader". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 13 December 2021.

External linksEdit