The 2001 Ohrid Framework Agreement pulled Macedonia back from the brink of conflict between majority Macedonians and a sizable Albanian minority. Since then, the country has stabilized its political institutions, passed reform legislation and created more equitable ethnic representation in public institutions. Macedonia received European Union candidate status in 2005. However, its progress toward EU and NATO membership is stymied by a longstanding dispute with Greece over Macedonia’s constitutional name.
Macedonia’s democracy agenda centers on making political institutions pluralistic and accountable. Parliament, civic groups and political parties are key actors in in this regard. A 2010 EU report highlighted parliament’s progress in committee oversight and legislative research capability. Civic groups are stepping forward as legislative advocates and government watchdogs. Conversely, governing and opposition dialogue has faltered, key reforms in the judiciary and public administration have lagged, and partisan discord has intensified, producing snap parliamentary elections in June 2011. A much anticipated population census will be conducted later in 2011.
Pictured above: A witness testifies at a parliamentary oversight hearing convened with NDI support.