Macedonia in its modern form came in to existence in 1945 when it became one of six constituent republics within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under the leadership of Josip Tito.
In September 1991 as Yugoslavia started to disintegrate a referendum was held which established Macedonia as an independent state from Yugoslavia under the name of the Republic of Yugoslavia.
The new name, however, gave the Greek government considerable problems and there was an intense period of diplomatic pressure and economic embargoes. That pressure continued when Macedonia tried to join the United Nations in 1993. They gained entry but under the title of the ‘Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’. To date the name of the country is still disputed, although more than half of the world’s nations use the title Republic of Macedonia.
The politics of Macedonia is almost as confusing. For a country of just over two million people, there are several dozen political parties, although two stand out as the leaders.
The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) is one and the other is the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM). In both cases, because of the complex proportional representation system devised for the country, neither party is capable of winning an election outright and often forms alliances or coalitions prior to an election.
In 1994, the first election test of the new independent state, the VMRO-DPMNE formed the first coalition government. They were to last four years before fresh elections in 2002 saw the SDSM led coalition entitled ,Together for Macedonia, sweep in to power.
Four years later, in 2006, the VMRO-DPMNE were back with a large coalition of minor parties; and again in 2008 following a snap general election the VMRO-DPMNE coalition of 18 parties entitled ‘For a Better Macedonia’ were returned to power.
Elections in Macedonia are often bitter affairs with some violence with parties boycotting parts of elections and walkouts in parliament.
The President is elected by popular vote for a five year term and is eligible to stand for a second term.
The unicameral Assembly or Sobranie has 123 members (recently increased from 120) with three seats allocated for the diaspora. Members are elected from party lists based on the percentage of the overall vote the parties gain in each of six electoral districts. They serve a four year term of office.
The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2016 places Macedonia at joint 90th out of 176 countries with a CPI 2016 score of 37 (where 100 is least corrupt).