Northern Macedonia (until 2019 Macedonia). After ten
years as prime minister, Nikola Gruevski resigned in January
in accordance with a deal with the opposition, following a
revelation that the government was involved in extensive
illegal interception. The Secretary General of the
VMRO-DPMNE Government Party, Emil Dimitriev, took over as
leader of a transitional government. But the political
crisis continued to cripple the country.
countryaah, new elections were to be held in April, but the
opposition claimed that the conditions were lacking for a
fair election and threatened with electoral boycotts. VMRO-DPMNE was accused of plans for electoral fraud and both
the EU and the United States appealed to the government to
postpone the election. So also happened, until June.
However, the crisis worsened when President Gjorge Ivanov
in April pardoned 56 people suspected of involvement in the
eavesdropping scandal, including his party mate Gruevski and
other politicians. It triggered street garbage, powerful
condemnations from the outside world and objections from the
Constitutional Court. Finally, the election is postponed
again in the future. Ivanov then withdrew the disputed
The protests continued, but after mediating between the
EU and the US, the four major parties over the summer
managed to reach a new agreement to resolve the political
deadlock. Among other things, voting lengths would be
cleared and the media given the opportunity to work freely.
Finally, the election was held in December. The result was a
backlash for both VMRO-DPMNE and the coalition partner, the
Albanian BDI, which, despite it, seemed capable of
A sudden storm that swept through the capital Skopje in
August triggered floods and landslides that claimed 21 lives
and injured over 50. The capital received as much rain in
two hours as normally falls throughout the month. In
September, over 100 people were injured when Skopje was hit
by eleven earthquakes in just over a day.
The so-called Balkan route for refugees en route to
Western and Northern Europe was effectively closed in March
when the EU signed an agreement with Turkey, and several
countries, including Macedonia, closed their borders.
Smaller groups continued to try to cross the border from
Greece. In September, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights
expressed great concern that Macedonia "systematically"
deprived of liberty and deported migrants, including many