Zoran Zaev

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Zoran Zaev
Зоран Заев
8th Prime Minister of Macedonia
Assumed office
31 May 2017
President Gjorge Ivanov
Preceded by Emil Dimitriev
Leader of the Opposition
In office
2 June 2013 – 31 May 2017
Preceded by Branko Crvenkovski
Succeeded by Nikola Gruevski
Mayor of Strumica
In office
22 March 2005 – 22 December 2016
Preceded by Kiril Janev
Succeeded by Kostadin Kostadinov
Personal details
Born (1974-10-08) 8 October 1974 (age 43)
Strumica, Yugoslavia (now Macedonia)
Political party Social Democratic Union
Spouse(s) Zorica Zaeva
Alma mater University of Skopje

Zoran Zaev (Macedonian: Зоран Заев; born 8 October 1974) is a Macedonian economist and politician who has served as the Prime Minister of Macedonia since 31 May 2017. Prior to taking office as Prime Minister, Zaev was a member of the Macedonian Assembly between 2003 and 2005, and mayor of Strumica between 2005 and 2016. He is president of the center-left Social Democratic Union of Macedonia.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Zoran Zaev was born on October 8, 1974 in Strumica. After finishing elementary and high school in his hometown, he enrolled at the Skopje Faculty of Economics from which he graduated in 1997. Zaev earned a master's degree in monetary economics at the same university.

Political Career[edit]

Zaev became a member of Social Democratic Union of Macedonia in 1996. He was elected as chairman of the Party's Strumica regional administration two times.[3] He served as Party's Vice President between 2006 and 2008.[2] He won three consecutive local elections and served as mayor of Strumica from 2005 to 2016. After Branko Crvenkovski stepped down as SDSM's leader in 2013, Zaev was elected as a new leader. In addition, he served as a member of the Macedonian Assembly from 2003 to 2005.[2] Following 2016 parliamentary election, Zaev formed a coalition government with the support from the Democratic Union for Integration and the Alliance of Albanians in May 2017.


In January 2015, former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski accused Zaev for the alleged conspiracy with a foreign intelligence service and a diplomats to topple the Government, and involvement in the allegedly attempted coup d'état.[4] Zaev in February accused Gruevski of wiretapping and illegally spying at least 20,000 people in the country. The public prosecutor, on the other hand, accused Zaev of blackmailing Gruevski and detained five people connected with that case.[5] The case was later dropped due to insufficient evidence.[6]

Following his election as a SDSM president, he became leader of the opposition. As leader of the opposition, Zaev took part in a meeting with Gruevski and European Union's enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn in June 2015 in order to overcome the political crisis. The negotiations resulted in the Pržino Agreement, which foresaw a caretaker government to organize a snap election in April 2016 and a Special Public Prosecution to investigate the wiretaps scandal. Zaev threatened to boycott the election because of Gruevski's obstructed of the Pržino Agreement and the reforms in the judiciary system and the media.[7]

Prime Minister[edit]

Zoran Zaev with German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Zaev with the Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras during the World Economic Forum 2018
Zaev with Edi Rama during a meeting of Balkan leaders held in Durrës

On May 31, 2017 the Macedonian Parliament confirmed Zaev as the new Prime Minister with 62 out of 120 MPs voting in favor. The voting ended months of political uncertainty.[8] A survey of 1,159 Macedonian citizens carried out in June 2017 by the Macedonian Brima Gallup International Association, showed that 62% of the population supported Zaev as a Prime Minister.[9] During his speech, Zaev presented the program of the new government, saying that joining NATO and the EU would be its priority in the following years. He also promised economic growth and an end to corruption by announcing a "responsible, reformist and European government".[10]

Some newspapers interpreted some Zaev's statements for the newspapers BGNES and Kurir as a claim asserting the Macedonians as one people with the Bulgarians or the Serbs.[11][12][13] What Zaev was recorded to say on the original video interview of the Bulgarian newspaper "BGNES" was "I want to send a message to all the citizens of Bulgaria. We are brotherly people, the same folk.", and what he stated during an interview for the Serbian newspaper "Kurir" was "The Serbs and the Macedonians are brotherly people" and "Nobody asked Zoran Zaev to do anything against Macedonians, against Serbs, against any ethnic community, or against any of our neighbors. We heard allegations asserting Zaev as condemning Serbia for a genocide. It's for me the same my people."[14][15]


  1. ^ "Macedonia Parliament Approves New Gov't after Prolonged Stalemate". 
  2. ^ a b c "Biography of Zoran Zaev". Social Democratic Union of Macedonia. Retrieved May 21, 2017. 
  3. ^ "SDSM Administration of Strumica". Social Democratic Union of Macedonia. Archived from the original on May 26, 2017. Retrieved May 21, 2017. 
  4. ^ MacDowall, Andrew (February 28, 2015). "Fears for Macedonia's fragile democracy amid 'coup' and wiretap claims". The Guardian. Retrieved May 21, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Macedonian Opposition Leader Accuses Government Of Wiretapping". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. February 9, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2017. 
  6. ^ "SPO Drops Coup Case: Katica Janeva Will Not Prosecute Zaev, Verusevski due to Insufficient Evidence". The Independent. January 18, 2017. Retrieved May 21, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Macedonia opposition says will boycott election". Business Insider. April 7, 2016. Retrieved May 21, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Macedonian MPs vote in new government after deadlock". BBC. June 1, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2017. 
  9. ^ "БГНЕС | Галъп: 62% подкрепят Зоран Заев за премиер". www.bgnes.com (in Bulgarian). 
  10. ^ "Macedonia forms new government 6 months after election". Politico. June 1, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Заев во исти ден тврди дека Македонците се Бугари, па потоа тврди дека Македонците се Срби (ВИДЕО)". Kurir.mk (in Macedonian). 2 May 2017. 
  12. ^ Зоран Заев: Македонците са един и същ народ с българите и сърбите. 
  13. ^ "Зоран Заев ја кажа вистината – Македонците и Бугарите се ист народ". Дневник. 
  14. ^ "БГНЕС | Зоран Заев: Македония няма да бъде двунационална, България и Борисов са наши големи приятели". www.bgnes.com (in Bulgarian). За България ние сме братски хора, един народ. (original in video 2:37-2:45 Jас сакам да изпратам парака до сите грагани на Бугариjа - ние сме братски хора, същи народ.) 
  15. ^ (KURIR TV) DA SE NE LAŽEMO! INTERVJU ZORAN ZAEV: Srbi su naša braća, Gruevski je KRIMINALAC!. A Srbi i Makedonci su bratski narod...Niko nije tražio da Zoran Zaev uradi nešto protiv Makedonaca, protiv Srba, protiv bilo koje etničke zajednice ili protiv bilo koga od naših suseda. Čuli smo optužbe da je Zaev prihvatio da tuži Srbiju za genocid. To je za mene isti, moj narod. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Branko Crvenkovski
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Nikola Gruevski
Preceded by
Emil Dimitriev
Prime Minister of Macedonia