The President of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev was born on October 8, 1974 in Strumica. He grew up in an agrarian household, in a modest and traditional family. Starting from early age, him and his younger brother were involved in the agricultural family business, as the only source of income. Zaev and his brother were raised by their parents and grandparents to be hardworking people that never postpone obligations and believe there is a solution to every problem. Later on in his life, he met his wife Zorica Zaeva with whom he has two children, Aleksandra and Dusko.
Zoran Zaev was a high school student when Macedonia gained its independence in 1991. He had already demonstrated affinities for math and was surrounded by family members who were thriving businessmen, active and respected in the socio-political and economic sphere of the Macedonian society. In 1997, Zaev graduated at the Faculty of Economics at the Skopje University "St. Cyril and Methodius" where he continued the postgraduate studies of Monetary Economics and Finance.
Inspired by the business success of his uncle, he immediately started working in a family-owned trading company - "Trgoprodukt", where he progressed to the managerial position in 5 years. Additionally, he was a member of several boards of companies, banks, and public enterprises.
Besides the experience in the business sector, Zoran Zaev’s political career was rapidly developing too. He has been a party member of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) since 1996, and a member of Parliament in the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia in the period 2003-2005. In 2006 he was elected vice president of the SDSM Central Committee, in 2008 he became the Acting President of the Party and since 2013, Zoran Zaev has been the leader of SDSM.
Since 2005, Zaev became a mayor of the City of Strumica, as the youngest mayor in the country. Under his leadership the city developed economically, became the most livable city in the country with the best credit rating, won the highest national award in the field of environment (2007-2008) and the Best Practice Аward by the Council of Europe for the first Public-Private Partnership in the country, implemented in the construction of the object "Global" in Strumica. After winning the local elections in 2013, he began his third consecutive term as mayor of this city, executing this function until December 2016.
Besides the evident success in the development of the city, Zoran Zaev became one of the most favorable politicians in Macedonia because of his openness and availability. He was the only mayor who put transparency into practice by monthly appearances on a local TV station, where he would present the work of the municipality, while listening and answering to all citizens’ issues and questions.
As the leader of the political opposition in the country, Zoran Zaev became the synonym of bravery and the frontrunner in the fight for justice, freedom, and democracy. In February 2015, Zaev started the project "The Truth about Macedonia" by publishing the wiretapped material unveiling the criminal activities of the government led by Gruevski. The resistance towards the autocratic government continued with his and SDSM’s active role in the Freedom Camp, which was a protest movement enticed by The Citizens for Macedonia - informal coalition of political parties and non-governmental, civic organizations working jointly to restore democracy in the society and revitalize the public institutions in service of the citizens. On the 17th of May 2015, this movement resulted in a historic protest in Skopje with more than 100.000 citizens in front of the Macedonian Government.
The announced abolition by President Ivanov of high government representatives provoked the Macedonian citizens to the Colourful Revolution - a massive and striving protest movement all over the country, which began in 2016 and lasted for 100 days.
Being directly involved in the protest movements and working closely together with the grass-root movements and the citizens, Zoran Zaev had launched the concept of "One society for all", promising the future development of the country as a place offering life for all citizens, regardless of their background or affiliations. This unifying concept of "One society" has been the driving force behind the victory of SDSM at the latest parliamentary elections with a result of 49- member seats (49/120), and this year’s local elections, when the party had a resounding victory in 57 from a total of 81 municipalities in the country.
After the "Przino agreement" and the parliamentary elections in 2016, followed by a difficult period of political turmoil, including the violent incident in the Parliament, on May 31, 2017, Zoran Zaev was elected Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia and got the mandate from the citizens to lead the new reform-oriented government.