Municipal elections 2005
Slightly more than half a year after these protests, in March 2005 local elections were held. None of the parties campaigned on the question of territorial organisation, but all focused on economic and development issues instead. All mayor ethnic Macedonian contestants, including the Socialdemocrats, VMRO-DPMNE and Vladimir Toleski, an independent candidate, distributed campaign material also in Albanian language. There were even Albanian-language spots on local TV.
The elections produced an equal amount of seats for the SDSM and DUI on the one hand, and VMRO-DPMNE and VMRO-NP on the other, leaving an independent candidate with the swing vote.
The run for mayor, however, was won by another independent candidate, Vladimir Toleski, a successful local businessman. One of his campaign posters consisted solely of a picture of him and four words: "economy – development – mutual trust – vision".
Many voters, including a considerable number of Albanians, found his approach appealing. As a DUI official told ESI: "We told our supporters to vote for the SDSM candidate in the second round, but many did not listen."