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Northern Macedonia

Yearbook 1999

Northern Macedonia (until 2019 Macedonia). In spring and summer, Macedonia faced a difficult national test during NATO's war against Yugoslavia as thousands and thousands of Kosovo Albanians fled across the border. International aid organizations set up huge camps for the refugees, which were kept well separated from the country's population. According to Countryaah official website, the Macedonian authorities feared that the massive refugee flow of Kosovo Albanians could affect the already fragile balance between the Macedonian and Albanian groups in Macedonia. By the end of the year, most of the refugees had returned home.

In early March, after six years of presence, the United Nations Force (UNPREDEP) was forced to leave Macedonia. Indeed, China had vetoed the UN Security Council against an extension of its mandate since Macedonia established diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

In early spring, mayoral elections were held in the two Albanian-run cities of Gostivar and Tetovo in northwestern Macedonia, where the majority of the population are ethnic Albanians. In Gostivar, less than 50% of the voters went to the polls, and the election was therefore invalid. In Tetovo, turnout was just over 50%, where Murtezan Ismaili became mayor. He belongs to the Albanian Partia Demokratike Popullore (NDP, Democratic People's Party). Prior to that, the Skopje Parliament had granted amnesty to the mayor of Gostivar and Tetovo, as well as 900 other ethnic Albanian prisoners.

In the December presidential election, the government coalition candidate Boris Trajkovski, who succeeded Kiro Gligorov, won.

1999 Northern Macedonia

On October 16, Gligorov was re-elected with 52.4% of the vote. Macedonia's Social Democratic Alliance leader of Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski put together a new government in coalition with the Liberals, the Socialist Party and the Party of Democracy and Prosperity - the Albanian main political organization. This coalition was named Macedonia Alliance.

In October 1995, a bomb exploded in Gligorov's car. the president survived and continued his work. That same month, the negotiation process led to Greece raising its financial sanctions.

In 1996, a privatization plan led to the coalition and government falling apart. Crvenkovski removed 4 ministers and restored the government.

The country's economic and social situation was extremely difficult. In 1997, it was rated as one of Europe's poorest countries.

Albanian activists continued the struggle for recognition of the Albanian language and culture. Albanians make up over 20% of the population. Some even went so far as to think that the regions of the country where the Albanians were majority should be transferred to Albania.

The October-November 1998 parliamentary elections gave a majority to a new coalition called the Organization of Macedonia's Internal Revolution/the Democratic Party of Macedonia's National Unity. It received 28.1% of the vote. The Social Democratic League gained 25.1%, while Alternative Democracy with just over 10% joined the government coalition. The Albanian Party for Democracy and Prosperity gained 19.3%. In late November, Ljubco Georgievski was appointed prime minister.

In the UN, China vetoed the continuation of the peacekeeping mission in the country, which was therefore abandoned on March 1, 1999. The reason was that Macedonia had established diplomatic relations with Taiwan. To avoid problems with the Albanian minority in the country due to the rising tensions in Yugoslavia, the government requested NATO to deploy troops at the border between the two countries. Acc. the government had the Kosovan Albanian UCK guerrilla bases in the country, yet the request to NATO triggered a response from Yugoslavia which considered the deployment as "unfriendly". When NATO's war against Yugoslavia began in March 1999, it prompted thousands of Kosovo Albanians to seek refuge in Macedonia, further exacerbating internal tensions. The government now asked NATO directly for help.

The first round of the 1999 presidential election gave 38% of the votes to Tito Petkovski from the ex-Communist Social Democracy. But the second round of elections was won by the candidate of the government coalition, Boris Trajkovski, who had to settle for 25% in the first round. Both the opposition and international election observers criticized the election for a large number of serious irregularities.

 

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