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Macedonia, Government

SDAM, ethnic Albanians, direct popular vote, liberal positions, Peace program

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 are the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party of Macedonian National Unity (IMRO-DPMNU) and the Democratic Alternative (DA). Formerly a strongly nationalist party, the IMRO-DPMNU dropped its nationalist rhetoric in 1998 and adopted liberal positions, arguing for good relations with ethnic Albanians. The Democratic Alternative (DA) is a multiethnic liberal party. An alliance of the two parties took 59 of the 120 seats in the parliamentary elections in November 1998. The Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA), which had won 10 seats, subsequently joined the ruling coalition. Other significant parties include the former Communist party, now called the Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia (SDAM), and another ethnic Albanian party, the Party of Democratic Prosperity (PDP).

Males are conscripted for nine months of military service. The FYROM military is very small, with 16,000 active-duty troops in 2001, 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).

Article key phrases:

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