It wasn’t a surprise, but Macedonia’s conservative president Gjorge Ivanov (pictured above) won reelection to a second four-year term in Sunday’s elections, and its conservative prime minister Nikola Gruevski won a fourth consecutive term, with his ruling party making minor gains in the Macedonian parliament that they’ve controlled since 2006.
Gruevski’s ruling VMRO-DPMNE (Внатрешна македонска револуционерна организација – Демократска партија за македонско национално единство; Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity) actually improved their total from 56 seats to 61 seats, nearly a majority in the 123-seat Собрание (Sobranie), the country’s unicameral assembly.
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RELATED: Macedonian right seems headed for fourth consecutive win
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Despite a high-profile call to boycott the presidential vote in the first round by the country’s ethnic Albanians, an issue that initially brought the government down when
Gruevski’s junior coalition partner, the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI, Bashkimi Demokratik për Integrim), brought the government down earlier this spring over the issue of Ivanov’s reelection. Despite a high-profile call to boycott the presidential vote in the first round by the country’s ethnic Albanians, the DUI also improved its standing from 15 to 19 seats, and it will likely resume its place in government.
The opposition Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM, Социјалдемократски сојуз на Македонија) lost ground, dropping eight seats to just 34. Continue reading Macedonian election results: double victory for ruling VMRO-DPMNE
Of all the former Yugoslav states, none has a more difficult path to full EU membership than Macedonia — for reasons that have less to do with its economy than with its culture.
In what has to be the most inane conflict in international affairs, Greece has blocked Macedonia’s potential EU (and NATO) accession for years over a dispute involving the naming of the country. The term ‘Macedonia’ covers both the Republic of Macedonia that bears its name and a greater geographic region that encompasses northern Greece as well. Greece worries that Macedonia’s use of the name ‘Macedonia’ violates its own cultural and historical heritage. The reality is complex. What is today’s Republic of Macedonia was ruled by the Ottoman Empire from the first half of the 15th century until the empire’s collapse. Macedonia was annexed by Serbia in 1912, and it was incorporated as a serparate state in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1944 before it emerged as an independent country with Yugoslavia’s disintegration in the early 1990s.
Even though Greek politicians have had much more to worry about in recent years than a naming contest with a small, neighboring country of just 2.06 million people, the battle lines between Macedonia and Greece have become tighter as ever following the election of Nikola Gruevski (pictured above) in 2006 on a center-right, nationalist platform that’s exacerbated the world’s silliest international dispute after Greece actively vetoed Macedonian accession to NATO in 2008. Continue reading Macedonian right seems headed for fourth consecutive win