The second round of Macedonian local elections took place on October 29. The current ruling Social Democrats (SDSM) won the majority of votes, claiming a total of 57 of 81 municipalities. Their main opponents, the right-wing VMRO-DPMNE, led by Nikola Gruevski, won five municipalities. As for local ethnic Albanian parties, the Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), which had previously entered a coalition with SDSM, came out as the dominant party against the Alliance for Albanians and The Trust Party.
SDSM managed to support its legitimacy by winning crucial towns such as Skopje, Butel, Gazi Baba, and Kisela Voda. DUI won the support of the majority-Albanian municipalities of Tetovo, Struga, Dibra, Cair, Kercove, Saraj, and Plasnica, while losing the municipality of Gostivar to the Alliance for Albanians.
VMRO-DPMNE rejected the legitimacy of the election, claiming that the outcomes were unfair and rigged due to voter intimidation. In addition, it pressed for early general elections, presenting a list of seven demands related to electoral procedure that called for steps including “the resignation of the head of the State Electoral Commission and the establishment of a special prosecution that would investigate irregularities at last year’s early general elections and at these local polls.” However, domestic and international observers have stated that, with some exceptions, the election was fair. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe asserted that “the second round of voting showed ‘respect for fundamental freedoms.’” Moreover, the Macedonian State Election Commission also rejected all of the allegations of unjust conduct in the second round of the local elections.
Prime Minister of Macedonia and SDSM leader Zoran Zaev responded to the objections of VMRO-DPMNE by saying, “I hope they will find the courage to act as a serious political body. I appeal to the VMRO-DPMNE leadership to put citizens’ interests in primary position.”