Macedonia

Macedonia's EU accession: what would a restart entail?

In his last State of the Union address, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reminded us of the obvious: that there would be no enlargement during the mandate of this Commission. He also underlined that the credible enlargement perspective for the Western Balkans must be maintained if the EU wants more stability in its neighborhood. On the following day, Commissioner Hahn in Belgrade launched a strategic partnership between the Commission and Serbia, a candidate country. At both of these occasions, a new strategy for enlargement for the Western Balkans was...

The Attack on MPs in Macedonia is Direct Attack on Democracy

On 27 April, 2017, after the parliamentary majority elected a speaker in Macedonia, the parliament was stormed by a mob.  Some were wearing ski masks. Members of parliament who had voted to elect the new speaker were attacked. The attackers injured several MPs: Zoran Zaev (SDSM), Radmila Sekerinska (SDSM), Zijadin Sela (Alliance for Albanians), Oliver Spasovski (SDSM), Damjan Manchevski (SDSM), and many others. Zoran Zaev, the president of SDSM, was badly injured, but appears to be all right; it seems that Zijadin Sela sustained the worst injuries. When the mob stormed parliament,...

Macedonia at the Crossroads – Is Peaceful Transfer of Power Possible in Authoritarianism?

On March 1, President Ivanov denied Mr. Zoran Zaev, the leader of the Social Democratic Union, the right to form a government, despite evidence that he had secured a majority in the Macedonian Parliament. In explaining his decision during a televised address to the public, Ivanov listed formal and ‘substantive’ reasons for not granting the government mandate to Zaev. Most importantly, he claimed that he could not entrust the mandate to a person or a political party “who advocate or have in their political program a platform for...

The elections in Macedonia brought political balance, but will they bring stability or restore democracy?

The early parliamentary elections, held on 11 December, had a very high turnout. In total, 1,191,521 voters (66.82% of the electorate) cast their ballot. In some electoral units the turnout was over 70%; however, it was lower in electoral unit six, where ethnic Albanians constitute a majority. There were a high number of invalid ballots (37,821). These were the most unpredictable elections Macedonia has had since its independence. The electoral competition was very close: pre-election polls showed that the VMRO-DPMNE, the incumbent party, led by two to four percent. SDSM, the opposition...

Macedonia: escape from the abyss or sinking even deeper?

The “most important” elections

On the 11th of December, the citizens of Macedonia will vote in yet another early election. Early elections have become the norm since 2006, when the last regular parliamentary elections were held. Many political and public personalities have described the current election cycle as Macedonia’s “most important” elections since its independence.  This election owes its importance to a two-year-long political crisis resulting from the revelation of a wire-tapping scandal by the main opposition party, SDSM. The scandalous content of the...

Presidential Pardon Debunks Fragility of Macedonian State Institutions

President Ivanov’s general abolition, granted on April 12 this year (to 56 persons), partially withdrawn on May 27 (only for 22 persons) and then completely withdrawn on June 6 (for the remaining 33 persons - one pardoned person, Kosta Krpac, who was actually a witness of the Special Public Prosecution, allegedly committed suicide) can be analyzed in two separate aspects: legally and socio-politically. In regard to the legal aspect, any well-informed lawyer with common legal sense can observe without doubt the continuous decadence of the entire legal reasoning behind the process that,...

Could the political crisis be an opportunity to overcome ethnic divisions in Macedonia?

Ethnic politics is central in Macedonia. Examples from the first multi-ethnic government in 1992, the interethnic protests in 1997/98, the near-civil-war in 2001, the outburst of more or less violent ethnic protests and security incidents between 2004 to 2016, including a weekend war in Kumanovo in 2015, show the importance of good interethnic relations for...

The President’s Pardon Turns Back the Clock on Macedonia’s Crisis

On Tuesday, April 12, the President of Macedonia, Mr. Gjorge Ivanov, dropped a bombshell: he announced his decision to issue a pardon  to all individuals, overwhelmingly politicians, that are under investigation regarding the 2015 wire-tapping scandal under the jurisdiction of the Special Prosecutor, as well as those that were brought up against the leader of the largest opposition party, Mr. Zoran Zaev, plus another unnamed individual who is already in...

Macedonia in 2016: Resolving or reinforcing the political crisis?

On January 15, EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn came to Macedonia to seal the deal on the agreement paving the way out of the crisis via early elections in April 2016. However, the main opposition party, SDSM, objected to the elections, expressing doubt that conditions are sufficient for them to be free and fair. On the other hand, the ruling party, VMRO-DPMNE, as well as the two Albanian parties, DUI and DPA, want elections in April. The international community hopes that the implementation of the agreement and elections will bring political stability and predictability in...

Macedonia in Europe or Belarus in the Balkans?

At the dawn of the publication of the European Commission's Progress Reports for 2015 the Macedonian political crisis is at its climax, while the way out of the deadlock seems distant and intangible. Since the I think establishment of the so called Przhino Agreement its implementation took more effort than anyone expected. This especially goes for the EU special mediator Peter Van Haute who drives the European vehicle towards the successful implementation of what was agreed upon in June and July 2015 by the main four political leaders in Macedonia. For the purpose of finalizing the crisis...

Pages