Northern Macedonia (until 2019 Macedonia). According to
contradictions overcame violence in Macedonia during the
year, which otherwise escaped the discharges that affected
the other former Yugoslav republics.
A new Albanian guerrilla, the National Liberation Army
UCK, took up arms against the Macedonian majority at the
beginning of the year. Fighting raged mainly in the
Albanian-dominated northwestern Macedonia. After strong
pressure from the Western powers, which at all costs wanted
to avoid a new full-scale Balkan war, a peace agreement was
signed in August. In accordance with the agreement, UCK
surrendered its weapons to NATO, which sent a force to
monitor disarmament. The promised amnesty for guerrillas
also came, but the reform package that would strengthen the
rights of Albanians was delayed by Macedonian nationalists
in Parliament. In November, reforms were finally adopted
regarding, among other things. the language, education and
political representation of the Albanians. The unifying
government formed during the crisis burst when the Social
Democrats jumped off,
In December, a deadline for the adoption of a law on
decentralization of power expired, also under the peace
agreement. The law was a prerequisite for a promised donor
conference under the auspices of the EU.
The April 2004 presidential election was won by Branko
Crvenkovski with 42.5% against Sasko Kedev's 34.1%.
Observers from the OSCE considered that the election was
within the standards of international democratic elections,
but nonetheless noted a number of irregularities.
Crvenkovski was declared the winner by the Election
Commission, but the opposition claimed the election fraud
and demanded the election be canceled. The chairman of the
OSCE Observer Corps, Friedrich Bauer, stated that the
election had not been conducted under the best of
circumstances and that there had been shadows over the
election process in some areas. In his report, however, the
chairman did not comment on whether the irregularities had
affected the election result.
In June, Parliament appointed former Foreign Minister
Hari Kostov as new prime minister.
In July, around 20,000 in Skopje demonstrated against a
parliamentary proposal to overhaul municipal borders against
Albania and to give more power to Albanians living in
certain areas of Macedonia. Nevertheless, in August
Parliament passed the law on the revision of the border
against Albania, and at the same time decided to grant
extensive autonomy to the Albanians, who are the dominant
group in certain areas of the country. An attempt by the
Macedonian nationalists in November to repeal the new laws
failed, as they only managed to garner 26.5% support ifbm. a
referendum on the issue.
Also in November, Hari Kostov resigned as prime minister.
The post was temporarily taken over by Radmila Sekerinska.
In December, Vlado Buckovski was inaugurated as new prime
minister and formed a new government.
In July 2005, Parliament passed a new law that allowed
Albanians to raise their flag in the areas where they are in
the majority. After Macedonia, together with Albania and
Croatia in 2003, signed the North American-Adriatic
agreement to pave the way for the accession of the three
countries to NATO, Macedonia initiated a series of reforms
to pave the way for accession in 2009.
The main opposition party, VMRO-DPMNE, won the
parliamentary elections in July 2006 by 40% of the vote,
while the Social Democrats had to settle for 24%. OIRM-PDNM
leader Nikola Gruevski was appointed new prime minister.
Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski and Police Officer
Johan Tarkulovski were summoned by the War Criminal Court in
The Hague, charged with the killing of 7 Albanians in the
village of Ljuboten in 2001. If they are found guilty, they
will be sentenced to life imprisonment.
The June 2008 parliamentary elections were won by the
Conservative Coalition, which went up 18 seats to 63. The
Socialist-led opposition went back 5 seats to 27. The
election was marked by only a few irregularities.