Macedonia

About Macedonia

Geography
History
Economy
Culture
Life style
Policy
Guide
History
Geography
Economy
Culture
Life style
Political system, law and government
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National Institutions
Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia
Government
Agency for Motivating the Development of the Agriculture
Ministry of Culture
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Economy
Industrial Property Protection Office
Ministry of Education
Ministry of Environment
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Health
Ministry of Information
Ministry of Labour and Social Policy
Ministry of Science
Ministry of Urbanism and Construction
State Statistical Office
Hydro
meteorological Institute

National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia
Municipal Institutions, embassies
City of Skopje
Embassy of Macedonia in Ottawa, Canada
Embassy of Macedonia in Sofia, Bulgaria
Permanent Mission of Macedonia to the United Nations in New York
Political Parties
Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation - Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE)
Democratic Alternative (DA)
Social Democratic League of Macedonia (SDMS)
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
Liberal Democratic Youth (LiDeM)
MAAK
Albanian Democratic Party (PDSH)
Additional Information
The World Factbook
Atlapedia Online
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Political Information
Elections around the world
Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members
Political Leaders
World Statesmen
Political Resources on the Net
The Political Reference Almanac
Regents of the world
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Other Information
Human Development Report
Ethnologue: Languages of the World
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Macedonia -- Geography --

Name: Macedonia Official Name: Former Yogoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)
Capital City: Skopje
Languages: Macedonian, Albanian, others
Official Currency: Macedonian Denar
Religions: Eastern Orthodox, Musim, others
Population: 2,063,000
Land Area: 25,715 sq km
Landforms: The country is an elevated plateau of large hills and deep valleys, completely disected and surrounded by mountains. The highest point is in the Korab Mountains (2,764m). Major lakes include Ohrid, Prespa (both shared with Albania) and Doiran. Lake Ohrid is the deepest lake in the Balkans. The Vardar River divides the country; other rivers of note include the Bregalnica and Cma.
Land Divisions: 34 counties and 123 municipalities




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Beginning***Europe


Macedonia -- History --

From 1945 to 1991 the Peopleís (later Socialist) Republic of Macedonia was a part of Titoís Yugoslavia. Titoís death in 1980 coincided with the onset of an enduring economic crisis that, by 1985, had lowered production and living standards to 1965 levels. Yugoslav Macedonia, the second poorest republic after Bosnia and Herzegovina, was among the hardest hit.
In Yugoslav Macedoniaís prolonged and inconclusive elections in November and December 1990, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party of Macedonian National Unity (IMRO-DPMNU), won a plurality of seats (37 of 120) in the Sobranje, or parliament. Both the reorganized Communist party and the republicís major ethnic Albanian party won significant numbers of seats. In January 1991, the Sobranje elected the veteran ďreform-CommunistĒ Kiro Gligorov as president. In March, after prolonged negotiations, the Sobranje finally approved a prime minister and cabinet consisting mostly of individuals who belonged to no party.
In November 1991, the republic joined Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina in applying to the European Community (now the European Union-EU) for recognition as independent states. In the spring of 1992, Gligorov negotiated the peaceful withdrawal of the Yugoslav army, and Yugoslav Macedonia became the only Yugoslav republic to achieve independence without war. In April 1993, the country was admitted to the United Nations under the temporary name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Economic problems and the struggle for international recognition contributed to the fall of the nonparty government in the summer of 1992. A four-party coalition formed the new government, with Branko Crvenkovski, the leader of the Communist party now renamed the Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia (SDAM), as the new prime minister. Parliamentary elections in the fall of 1994 gave a three-party Alliance for Macedonia, led by the SDAM, 95 of the 120 seats in the Sobranje. The Liberal Party and the ethnic Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP) were the other parties in the coalition. The IMRO-DPMNU and the Democratic Party boycotted the second round of elections and were therefore not represented in the new Sobranje. Crvenkovski was again named prime minister. At the same time, Gligorov won reelection as president, by popular vote, with a 52-percent majority.
The Greek blockade was not lifted until September 1995, when the foreign ministers of Greece and the FYROM signed an interim accord on mutual relations. The two countries confirmed their border and agreed to establish diplomatic relations. Greece pledged to lift its embargo and to consent to the FYROMís entrance into a number of international organizations. For its part, the FYROM agreed to remove the controversial Star of Vergina from its flag and to repeal articles of its constitution that Greece found objectionable. Negotiations were to continue regarding the issue of the republicís name.
Before parliamentary elections in November 1998 the IMRO-DPMNU and its leader, Ljubco Georgievski, stood for good relations with ethnic Albanians. The new alliance won 59 of the 120 seats in the Sobranje, and Georgievski was appointed prime minister in November. The Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA) was then invited to join the government, giving the ruling coalition an absolute majority of 69 seats.
In March 1998, violence broke out between Serbian police and ethnic Albanian separatists in the neighboring Serbian province of Kosovo. In the wake of the violence, Gligorov appealed to extend the mission of the UN troops posted along the FYROMís border with Serbia beyond the scheduled end date of September. In July the UN voted to add about 300 troops and extend the mission to February 1999. The UN withdrew the troops in March 1999.
Gligorov did not stand for reelection as president in November 1999. He was succeeded by Boris Trajkovsky, a member of the IMRO-DPMNU.


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Beginning***Europe

Macedonia -- Economy --

Of the six republics of the former Yugoslavia, Macedonia was one of the least developed economically. In 1991, its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was about one-third that of Slovenia, the richest of the republics. GDP, which measures the value of goods and services produced in a country, fell by more than 30 percent from 1991 to 1995. The independent republic saw its first economic growth in 1996. Unemployment has been a dominant problem, with the unemployment rate topping 33 percent in 1995 and rising to 40 percent in 1998. In 1998, continued growth and a government program to create jobs began to reduce the number of unemployed workers. In 2003, the GDP was $4.7 billion.
When the FYROM was part of post-World War II Yugoslavia, its economy was controlled by the state, which effectively owned most enterprises. These enterprises did not have to be profitable and often were managed inefficiently. After independence the country had to make the transition from a modified socialist economy to a free-market economy under particularly unfavorable circumstances. In the first half of the 1990s the economy suffered from a trade embargo imposed by Greece. In 1994 and 1995, Greece imposed a blockade on the FYROM, deepening the countryís economic slump. An underground gray economy, which comprises businesses that operate outside the tax and social security systems and that disregard government regulations, grew in the FYROM during that period. At the end of the 1990s, the gray economy remained large. It was estimated that in 1998 the gray economy accounted for fully one-half of the republicís GDP.
Nevertheless, the FYROMís economic transition was successful in some ways. Inflation, which was 1.69 percent in 1992, had dropped to 1.3 percent in mid-1998. Many firms were transferred from government control to private control. Transferring firms to private ownership so that they could operate on the basis of supply and demand was an important step in creating a free-market economy in the FYROM. The pace of such structural change was slow until the late 1990s because the process was dominated by insider privatization; that is, many firms were sold to their former managers. However, laws passed in the late 1990s to discourage insider privatization helped speed structural change. A major increase in foreign investment in FYROM firms in 1998 reinforced the trend.
Industry, including manufacturing, mining, and construction, was the largest sector of the economy as the Yugoslav period came to an end. Industry employed 40 percent of the republicís labor force in 1990 and generated 36 percent of the GDP in 1992. During the early 1990s, the contribution of industry to the GDP fell while the contribution of services increased. The economic recovery of 1998 was based largely on recovery in the industries that had been developed by the post-World War II Yugoslav regime: iron, steel, and other metals; chemicals; tobacco; textiles; and machinery. In 2003, industry accounted for 30 percent of GDP. Agriculture, forestry, and fishing accounted for 12 percent, and services accounted for 57 percent.
Important agricultural products in the FYROM include wheat; corn, or maize; barley; tobacco; and fruits and vegetables. Dairy farming is also important. Coal is mined and various metals are mined or processed in the FYROM. These include chromium, lead, zinc, and alloys of iron and nickel. Major manufactured goods are food products, textiles and clothing, machinery, chemicals, iron and steel, and tobacco products.
In 1992, the FYROM established a national bank and introduced its own currency, the denar (54.3 denars equal U.S.$1; 2003 average). The banking system that existed just before independence included several commercial banks that operated like those in Western countries. However, many of these banks were insolvent because the government had forced them to loan money to enterprises that could not repay the loans. After independence the national bank launched a program to strengthen the commercial banks. The program yielded good results, dramatically decreasing the share of bad loans from 1992 to 1998. The national bank successfully tamed inflation in the late 1990s.
In 2003, the value of the FYROMís imports was $2.3 billion, compared to exports worth $1.4 billion. The main exports are basic manufactures (especially iron and steel), machinery and transportation equipment, food and beverages, and tobacco. The chief imports are fuels, chemicals, and machinery and equipment. Principal purchasers of the countryís exports are Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Russia; chief suppliers of imports are Germany, Bulgaria, Italy, and Austria.
Coal is the republicís main source of energy, with power plants that burn fossil fuels producing 82 percent of the countryís electricity in 2002. Most was generated by a coal-fired power plant at Bitola.
The FYROMís transportation network is not well developed. At the end of the 1990s, international investment was helping to pay for the construction of modern road and rail networks. The chief airports are at Skopje and Ohrid.
The communications system is small. In 2002 there were 271 telephone mainlines for every 1,000 people. For the same number of people there were 206 radios and 280 televisions. The government owns all broadcasting stations. The republic has 6 daily newspapers. The broadcast media and the press are generally free.


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Beginning***Europe


Macedonia -- Culture --

As might be expected in a country with such a diverse population, the cultural life of the FYROM is rich. Folk music draws on Byzantine traditions as well as those associated with the Muslim cultures of the Middle East. Current popular music groups have drawn on this mixed heritage to produce strikingly original music. Many of the Orthodox Christian monasteries and churches are decorated with beautiful frescoes and other works of art. In 1995 a FYROM film, Before the Rain, gained recognition in the United States and was a finalist for an Academy Award in the best foreign-language film category. An internationally renowned gathering of poets is held every year in Struga, on the shores of Lake Ohrid.


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Macedonia -- Life style --

Since 1945 what is today the FYROM has undergone a transition from an overwhelmingly agricultural society, with more than 90 percent of the people living in rural areas, to a mixed industrial-agricultural society, with only 40 percent of the population living in rural areas. While traditional families were large, the new urban families are small, especially among the population that is not ethnic Albanian. The society is traditionally patriarchal, with Orthodox Christianity exerting a strong influence among the non-Muslim population. Traditional clothing is colorful, with rich embroidery, but folk costumes are no longer worn by many people, who dress instead like other southern Europeans. Traditional foods have much in common with those elsewhere in the Balkans, favoring breads and roasted meats. The republic produces excellent fruits and vegetables and is famous for its peppers. The wines are very good and are being increasingly produced for export.


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Macedonia -- Political system, law and government --

President: Branko Crvenkovski (2004). Prime Minister: Vlado Buckovski (2004)' The constitution of the FYROM was adopted in November 1991 and amended the next month. The amendments state explicitly that the republic has no territorial claims against neighboring states and that it will not interfere in the affairs of other states. These clarifications were made to address concerns raised by the government of Greece, the neighboring region of which is also called Macedonia. The constitution heavily emphasizes formal guarantees of fundamental rights and freedoms. Every citizen 18 years of age or older has the right to vote.
The president of the republic is the head of state. The president is elected by direct popular vote to a term of five years. No person may serve more than two terms as president. The president appoints the prime minister, subject to approval by the parliament. The prime minister and a cabinet of ministers chosen by the prime minister make up the government, which handles day-to-day government operations.
The parliament, or Sobranje, is a single-chamber legislature with 120 members. The members are elected by direct popular vote for terms of four years. The parliament creates laws and develops policy.
The Supreme Court is the highest court. A hierarchy of regular courts exists, at the trial and appeals levels, to handle legal cases. Judges for all these courts are appointed for life by a seven-member Judicial Council, which is appointed by the parliament. The Constitutional Court decides constitutional questions and may annul laws that are inconsistent with the constitution. The Constitutional Court consists of nine judges, elected by the parliament, but the president may nominate two members. Judges of the Constitutional Court serve nine-year terms and may not be reappointed.
For purposes of local government, the country is divided into 34 communes. Each commune has a directly elected assembly.
The main political parties include the former Communist party, now called the Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia (SDAM), and the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party of Macedonian National Unity (IMRO-DPMNU). Formerly a strongly nationalist party, the IMRO-DPMNU deemphasized its nationalist rhetoric in 1998 and adopted a more conciliatory position toward ethnic Albanians. The largest ethnic Albanian party is the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), formed in 2002 by former members of the ethnic Albanian insurgent group the National Liberation Army (NLA). Other significant ethnic Albanian parties are the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA) and the Party of Democratic Prosperity (PDP). The Democratic Alternative (DA) is a multiethnic liberal party. Males are conscripted for nine months of military service. The FYROM military is very small, with 10,890 active-duty troops in 2003, mainly in the army. The republic has a very small air force and some air defense units. There are also about 7,500 special police officers. The FYROM is a member of the Partnership for Peace program of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The FYROM is also a member of the United Nations (UN), the Council of Europe, and the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).


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Beginning***Europe

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