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***New Macedonian Prime Minister and Government

by Norwegian Chef Thu Aug 17th, 2006 at 07:11:46 AM EST

After winning the July 5th elections, 36-year old Nikola Gruevski has been appointed this week as the new Prime Minister Designate of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and will likely be ratified in office later this week.

He is the current leader of the VMRO-DPMNE which loosely translated stands for the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity.  It is a self-styled Christian Democrat Party and basically holds the overall position of the main right of centre conservative party in Macedonian politics.

I thought I would do a bit of research about him and his party and some of the current issues in Macedonian politics.

From the front page - whataboutbob

Wikipedia has a good article on the party here.  

The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (Macedonian: Vnatrešno-Makedonska Revoluciona Organizacija-Demokratska Partija za Makedonsko Nacionalno Edinstvo), or VMRO-DPMNE is a political party in the Republic of Macedonia. The party describes itself as a Christian Democratic party which supports the admission of Macedonia to NATO and the European Union.
The party's name derives from the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, a liberation movement founded in 1893. The original VMRO (IMRO) was suppressed in the 1930s, at which time the territory of the current Republic of Macedonia was part of Yugoslavia. Although VMRO-DPMNE claims a line descent from the old VMRO, there is no real connection between the old VMRO and the new one.
After the death of Josip Broz Tito in 1980 Yugoslavia began to disintegrate and democratic politics in Macedonia revived. Many exiles returned to Macedonia from abroad, and a new generation of young Macedonian intellectuals rediscovered the history of Macedonian nationalism. In these circumstances it was not surprising that the name of it should be revived. A new VMRO-DPMNE was founded on June 17, 1990 in Skopje.
After the first multy-party elections in 1990, VMRO-DPMNE became the strongest party in the Parliament, but did not form a government, because it did not have a majority of seats and would have had to make a coalition with an ethnic Albanian party, which it refused to do. The party boycotted the second round of the 1994 elections claiming that fraud had happened in the first round. At the Kichevo Congress in 1995, deciding that it could not gain international support to form a government as long as it was nationalistic, VMRO-DPMNE became a moderate party with Christian Democratic orientation. After winning the 1998 election VMRO-DPMNE surprised many people when formed coalition government with the Democratic Party of Albanians. In 1999 the VMRO-DPMNE's candidate Boris Trajkovski was elected President, completing VMRO-DPMNE's takeover. Once in office Trajkovski pursued a much more moderate policy than expected.
In 2002 VMRO-DPMNE's government was defeated at the legislative elections. In an alliance with the Liberal Party of Macedonia, VMRO-DPMNE won 28 out of 120 seats. In 2004 Trajkovski was killed in a plane crash and Branko Crvenkovski was elected President, defeating the VMRO-DPMNE's candidate Sashko Kedev.
The first leader of the VMRO-DPMNE was Ljubco Georgievski, who served as prime minister from 1998 to 2002, and the current is Nikola Gruevski.
The party became the largest party in Parliament again after gaining over a dozen seats in the July 5, 2006 parliamentary elections. With 44 of 120 seats, the party is likely to form a government in coalition with an ethnic Albanian party again.

Wikipedia also has a good article on Gruevski himself here

Nikola Gruevski (born 31 August 1970 in Skopje) is the current leader of the VMRO-DPMNE. He is set to become the next Prime Minister following the VMRO-DPMNE victory in the parliamentary elections of 5 July 2006. He was Minister of Finance in the VMRO-DPMNE government led by Ljubco Georgievski until September 2002. He was known as among the strongest advocates and implementers of reform in the cabinet.
Among Gruevski's achievements, was the privatisation of Fenimak, a deal which brought foreign investment to the Republic of Macedonia and led to a moribund state company being revitalised. He was also part of the government which sold the Macedonian Telecom to Hungarian Matav. Gruevski also implemented daring financial reforms, including the VAT (Value Added Tax) of 18%, requiring fiscal recipts for all Macedonian businesses, which was a program designed to fight tax evasion.
Nikola Gruevski's most famous program was "Kupuvajte makedonski proizvodi"("Buy Macedonian Products"), which promoted buying Macedonian products, designated by logo with a sun with a happy face. His hope was that the program would boost domestic business revenues.
After VMRO-DPMNE was defeated in the parliamentary elections in 2002, there was a period of infighting within the party. Gruevski emerged as the pro-EU leader, beating off Georgievski camp. The former prime minister has now set up his own party (VMRO-People's Party), but VMRO-DPMNE looks set to retain most of the party's supporters at the elections due in the summer of 2006.

The new VMRO-DPMNE-led Government will form a coalition with the  Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA) similar to the coalition that governed Macedonia after the 1998 elections from 1998-2002.  The smaller Socialist Party of Macedonia and Liberal Party of Macedonia will also be in the Centre Right coalition.  The description of the new cabinet can be found here

Wikipedia likewise has a good article of the DPA  here

The Democratic Party of Albanians (Partia Demokratike Shqiptare - Demokratska Partija na Albancite) or DPA is a political party of the ethnic Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia. The DPA is a merger of the Party for Democratic Prosperity of Albanians (PDPA) and the People's Democratic Party (NDP) which took place in June 1997. The former party was formed in 1994 after some radical members of the Party for Democratic Prosperity, led by Menduh Taci and Arben Xhaferi, left the PDP and the latter party was founded in August 1990 as a more radical opponent of the PDP.
After the 1998 elections the DPA entered the government coalition led by the VMRO-DPMNE.
At the legislative elections, 15 september 2002, the party won 5.2% of the popular vote and 7 out of 120 seats. The party lost its status as a government party due to the defeat of the VMRODPNME. At the last legislative elections, held on July 5, 2006, the party increased its support, winning 7.5% of the vote and 11 seats.
Its leader is Arben Xhaferi.

The main political issues continue to centre around the situation with the Macedonian majority and the Albanian minority.  A recent article from AKI earlier this week illustrates the issue:


Skopje, 7 August (AKI) - Activitists from the leading ethnic Albanian party in Macedonia, the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) on Monday blocked all main roads in the country in protest at being left out of the new government of incoming prime minister Nikola Gruevski. The first day of a planned week of roadblocks passed without incidents, according to local media reports.

DUI won 17 seats in the 120-seat parliament, but Gruevski, whose nationalist VMRO DPMNE party won the majority of votes in the 5 July general election, decided to form a coalition with the DUI's arch rival, the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA), which won 11 parliamentary seats. Ethnic Albanians form about 25 per cent of Macedonia's population of two million.

"This is just the beginning of our revolt against the prime minister designate, who ignores the will of Albanians in Macedonia," said DUI official, Idaet Medjiti. He said that roadblocks lasting half an hour will last throughout the week in all villages and towns with an ethnic Albanian majority, until Gruevski changes his mind.

The DPA, which was a coalition partner in the outgoing government of prime minister Vlado Buckovski, defeated in the elections, appealed to DUI to "stop crying," and to resign itself to an opposition role. DUI's complaints showed that the ethnic Albanian rebellion in 2001, spearheaded by the DUI, wasn't a "fight for human rights of Albanians in Macedonia, but for power," DPA said in a statement.

Grueski, who needs the DUI's support to govern - has said he will announce his cabinet on 2 August - a bank holiday in Macedonia. European Union officials have urged him to carry on with the reforms Macedonia needs to implement to join the EU.

The EU has also said Macedonia also respect the 2001 Ohrid peace agreement which ended the ethnic Albanian rebellion, granting local Albanians broad autonomy and control of several towns through municipal decentralisation.

Macedonia is an official candidate for EU membership, but no precise entry date has yet been set.

Any further insights from people in Macedonia or in the region would be appreciated.

Hi Chef! Thanks for taking the time to research, write up and present this excellent article on Macedonia. I continue to learn a lot about the smaller European countries from your various pieces!! And it will be interesting to see how this new leader manages Macedonia and the sensitive Albanian issue as it tries to work towards Eu integration...

And yes, I too hope we get some commentary from readers who are more in the know...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Tue Aug 15th, 2006 at 07:09:44 AM EST
I see this as a poor decision by the party. The integration of Albanians politically is relatively new there, and Macedonia is still susceptible to pressure for minority rights that would designate the Albanians as a "community" inside the country. For the sake of efficiency and functionality, you're much better off integrating a minority by giving them a political voice.
by Upstate NY on Tue Aug 15th, 2006 at 09:45:46 AM EST
Can you characterise the DPA and the DUI and their differences?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Aug 16th, 2006 at 08:44:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not know enough to contrast the two parties in detail although the differences seem superficially anyway both historical and regional.  DUI is also much larger than DPA (almost twice as large).   It seems from a historical context that DUI is more radical in terms of Albanian autonomy, and DPA more open to integration, but that is only a educated guess looking in from afar.  Also over the last decade or so, DPA seems more historically linked with centre right parties and DUI with centre left ones.

Wikipedia likewise has a good article on the DUI here.

Democratic Union for Integration
The Democratic Union for Integration (Bashkimi Demokratik për Integrim, BDI, Demokratska Unija za Integracija, DUI) is the largest political party in the Republic of Macedonia among ethnic Albanians, and the third largest political party in all of Macedonia. It is led by Ali Ahmeti. The DUI is the successor to the Albanian National Liberation Army, which fought the Macedonian security forces in 2001. As a political party it was formed 3 months before the elections in June 2002. The DUI held its first Congress in November 2005.
At the legislative elections, 15 september 2002, the party won 11.9% of the popular vote (70% of the Albanian vote) and 16 out of 120 seats.
From 2002 to 2006 it was part of the ruling coalition along with the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia and the Liberal Democratic Party. At the last legislative elections, held on July 5, 2006, the party's size increased slightly. It received 12% of the vote and 18 seats. Due to the defeat of the Social Democratic Union, it is currently not certain whether the Democratic Integration Party will participate in the next government.

I like the silence of a church, before the service begins better than any preaching. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
by Norwegian Chef (hephaestion@surfbirder.com) on Wed Aug 16th, 2006 at 10:04:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Despite all the claimed moderation, I view the return of VMRO-DPMNE with concern. One thing left out of the historical review was the cold-blooded murder of Muslim migrants so that after arranging their corpses, they can be presented as al-Qaida terrorists killed in a gunbattle.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Aug 16th, 2006 at 08:48:48 AM EST
I am not following Macedonian political situation ( happy that I don't have to due to separation, to be honest) and I can't read this text because it's too long and I am lazy, but for some reason I wouldn't expect too much of the good from VMRO-DPMNE. Don't ask me why! Anyway good luck to Macedonians!

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 16th, 2006 at 09:05:18 AM EST

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