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Northern Macedonia

Yearbook 2016

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.

2016 Northern Macedonia

According to 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 pardons.

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 re-forming government.

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 children.

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