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Northern Macedonia

Yearbook 1998

Northern Macedonia (until 2019 Macedonia). According to Countryaah, Macedonia changed government for the first time since independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. In the fall general election, the sitting Social Democrats, SDSM, were defeated by the nationalist right-wing coalition VMRO-DPMNE (Inner Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity), and formed government together with the DA (Democratic alternative) and the Albanian election alliance PDPA-NDP (Albanian Prosperity Party-Democratic People's Party).

1998 Northern Macedonia

These two Albanian parties merged in the summer under the name Albanian Democratic Party (DPA). However, at year-end the authorities had not yet formally registered the party under this name because it uses Albanian symbols in its emblem. For this reason, the DPA formally went for election as a coalition consisting of the incoming parties PDPA and NDP. Party leader Arben Xhaferi is not part of the government, but five of the 14 ministers are Albanians. The new government promised to improve the economy and create 120,000 new jobs to reduce unemployment, which amounts to 30%.

The conflict between the Slavic Macedonians and the ethnic Albanians intensified as a result of the summer and autumn battles in the Kosovo province of southern Yugoslavia between the Yugoslav military alliance and the Kosovo Albanian guerrilla UCK, Ushtria Clirimtare e Kosovės (Kosovo Liberation Army). Demonstrations in support of UCK gathered tens of thousands of Albanians from all over Macedonia in Skopje. According to official data, Albanians in Macedonia make up 23% of the population, but more than 30% are likely. They demand complete equality with the Slavic Macedonians. in terms of the right to use one's own language, one's own national symbols and to be able to make a career in the public sector. Most of them live in the north and west along the borders of Kosovo and Albania.

Sweden took over the leadership of the Nordic battalion within the UN force that monitors the border of Macedonia and whose mission is to report incidents and deter from military threats, but it has no mandate to intervene militarily. The strength was strengthened in connection with the Kosovo crisis and amounted to 1,050 men at the end of the year, 187 of whom were Swedes.

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