Flash News
MIC – March 26, 2013 – 10:08am

- President of the State Election Commission (DIK) Boris Kondarko at Monday’s press-conference said that the elections in the first round are completely finished in 51 municipalities. According to Kondarko, the second round of elections for mayor will be held in 29 municipalities and the City of Skopje, including Karpos, Centar, Kocani, Veles, Struga, Delcevo, Gostivar, Aracinovo, Berovo and others.

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VMRO-DPMNE WINS IN MOST MUNICIPALITIES, SDSM ANNOUNCES BOYCOTT OF SECOND ROUND
MIC – March 25, 2013 – 5:41pm

The coalition led by VMRO-DPMNE polled most of the vote in 54 municipalities, the coalition led by SDSM won in 7, BDI in 12 and PDSH, the Serb Progressive Party, RDK, the Democratic Party of Turks and the Alliance of Roma in one each, as independent candidates won in two municipalities. These results have been obtained from the vote count at 97.48 percent of all polling stations in the country.
The State Election Commission (DIK) is going to state Monday the initial unofficial results of the local elections immediately after the vote count at all polling stations is complete, said DIK Chairman Boris Kondarko at the press conference Sunday at midnight.
Kondarko said the State Election Commission assessed the high turnout in the local elections as very positive and was content that the election day went peacefully without violence and or any incidents at polling stations. However, according to him, there were some serious election irregularities in and out of the polling stations.

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FULE: LOCAL ELECTIONS WERE CONDUCTED PEACEFULLY WITHOUT MAJOR INCIDENTS
MIC – March 25, 2013 – 2:45pm

We welcome the fact that the local elections were conducted in a peaceful atmosphere, said EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule’s Office.

“We are now awaiting the official results from the State Election Commission, as well as the official report from the OSCE/ODIHR and the additional recommendations they may have,” Commissioner Fule’s Office said.

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VMRO-DPMNE DECLARES VICTORY IN MOST MUNICIPALITIES
MIC – March 24, 2013 – 11:20pm

VMRO-DPMNE won in most municipalities of the Republic of Macedonia and by a wider margin than we expected in the local elections Sunday, said Ilija Dimovski, Director of VMRO-DPMNE’s communication center at a press conference Sunday night.

He said VMRO-DPMNE, according to as yet unofficial information, was going to score a landslide victory in Stip, Gazi Baba, Aerodrom. Krusevo, Radovis, Vinica, Kisela Voda, Sveti Nikole, Prilep, Bitola, Kriva Palanka, Valandovo, Resen and Gevgelija, as few votes were expected to determine the winner in Centar and Veles. VMRO-DPMNE is also in the lead in Butel, Krivogastani, Ohrid, Pehcevo, Vasilevo, Ilinden, Vevcani, Dojran, Petrovec, Makedonska Kamenica, Demir Kapija and Rosoman.

SDSM expects to score a first round victory in Strumica. According to as yet unofficial information, the opposition coalition Alliance for the Future is also in the lead in Kumanovo, Debarca, Berovo, Rankovce and Bogdanci, said Gordan Georgiev, SDSM Vice Chairman, at a press conference Sunday night. He also said there were numerous election irregularities in Bitola.

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TURNOUT REACHES 57.57 PERCENT BY 17.00 HRS
MIC – March 24, 2013 – 6:28pm

Subhi Jakupi, Vice President of the State Election Commission, said at the press conference at 18.00 hrs that by 17.00 hrs, 57.57 percent of the eligible voters in Macedonia went to the polls, which is considerably more relative to the 48.73 percent turnout in the 2009 local elections.
The turnout in Skopje by 17.00 hrs was 53.08 percent. The municipalities with the highest turnout include Kicevo (71 percent), Strumica (68.29 percent), Stip (66.17 percent), Ohrid (64.62 percent), Bitola (62.64 percent), Karpos (60.43 percent), and Struga (57 percent). Jakupi said he was content with the way elections had so far gone and appealed to all voters who have not yet cast ballots to exercise their voting right until 19.00 hrs.
The Ministry of Interior said that the elections were being held in a fair and democratic atmosphere.

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34.87 PERCENT OF VOTERS CAST BALLOTS BY 13.00 HRS
MIC – March 24, 2013 – 2:24pm

The State Election Commission (DIK) said that 554,883 citizens, or 34.87 percent of the eligible voters, voted by 13.00 hrs. The turnout in Skopje by 13.00 was 31.21 percent, or 123,033 citizens cast ballots.
The highest turnout was in the municipality of Vevcani - 60.52 percent – and the lowest in the municipality of Bosilovo – 21.04 percent.
Of the Skopje municipalities, the turnout was the highest in Karpos – 34.47 percent – and the lowest in Suto Orizari – 25.20 percent.
Janez Lenarcic, director of the OSCE/ODIHR, said that these elections were important for the country and its current political situation and that the mission of the OSCE/ODIHR would release its preliminary report on Sunday’s vote on Monday afternoon.
The civil association Most registered minor irregularities, such as interruption of vote, group voting, and reading aloud the voters’ names at a few polling stations.
The next press conference of the State Election Commission has been set for 18.00 hrs.

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FIFTH LOCAL ELECTIONS IN MACEDONIA
MIC – March 24, 2013 – 1:00pm

The fifth local elections are being held in Macedonia Sunday (24 March), in which citizens are electing mayors and council members in 80 municipalities and the City of Skopje. At 2,976 polling stations, 1,743,403 citizens are entitled to vote for 350 candidates for mayors and 480 lists of candidates for council members.
According to the State Election Commission, by 12.00 hrs, 221,045 citizens, or 12.86 percent of the eligible voters, went to the polls. The local elections are monitored by 410 foreign and 8,379 domestic observers. The vote began at 7.00 hrs in the morning and ends at 19.00 hrs in the evening.
The turnout is the highest in Kratovo, where 22.29 percent of the eligible voters cast ballots by 12.00 hrs, and is the lowest in Bogovinje – 6.5 percent.
The second round of vote will be held within 14 days of the first round day.
According to the civil association MOST, all polling stations opened this morning as certain irregularities were detected at few of them.

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ELECTIONS TO BE MONITORED BY 8,379 DOMESTIC AND 410 FOREIGN OBSERVERS
MIC – March 22, 2013 – 12:52pm

The sixth local elections in Macedonia to be held on 24 March (Sunday) will be monitored by 8,379 domestic and 410 foreign observers.

The civil association Most accredited 3,941, Synergy, Association for Humanitarian Activities of Stip, 3,534, the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCMS) 392, the Federation of Civil Associations ‘Macedonian Platform Against Poverty’ 379 and the nongovernmental organization Civil 128 observes.

The local elections will also be monitored by 204 observes of the OSCE/ODIHR, 38 of the OSCE, 38 of the US Embassy, 32 of the EU Delegation, 17 of the Central Election Commission of Kosovo, 16 of the Council of Europe, seven of the French Embassy, five each of the Embassies of Kosovo and Turkey, four each of the Bulgarian, Russian, Austrian and Chinese Embassies and the NATO Liaison Office in Skopje, three each of the British, Croatian and Albanian Embassies, two each of the Slovenian, Ukrainian, Swedish and Serbian Embassies and one of the Embassy of the Republic of Slovakia in Macedonia.

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Flash News
MIC – March 22, 2013 – 12:12pm

- Deputy PM for European Affairs Fatmir Besimi met Thursday with Director General of Enlargement for the European Commission Stefano Sannino and Pierre Vimont, Secretary-General of the European External Action Service. Sannino and Vimont sent a public appeal to authorities in the Republic of Macedonia to show democratic capacity for fair elections because Macedonia can expect a positive report from the European Commission in this way only.

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DIK BEGINS DISTRIBUTING BALLOTS TO LOCAL ELECTION COMMISSIONS
MIC – March 21, 2013 – 2:31pm

The State Election Commission (DIK) started distributing ballots and other election material to local elections commissions across the country Thursday.
DIK is going to distribute by Saturday at the latest over four million ballots bearing in mind that in certain municipalities citizens will have to vote for candidates on as many as four lists.
Macedonian citizens are going to the polls Sunday (24 March) to elect mayors and local council members in 80 municipalities and the City of Skopje. A total of 1,743,403 citizens are entitled to vote at 2,976 polling stations for 350 candidates for mayors and 480 lists of candidates for local council members.

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ALL AMENDMENTS ARE COMPLETE, MACEDONIA TO RECEIVE POSITIVE EP RESOLUTION
MIC – March 20, 2013 – 2:03pm

All major parties at the European Parliament have reached a political deal over compromise amendments concerning everything, except one item, Richard Howitt, Rapporteur on Macedonia at the EP, told MIA’s Brussels-based correspondent in view of the coming vote on the Resolution on Macedonia set for 8 April.

According to Howitt, one more recommendation from the European Parliament to the European Council for immediate start of membership negotiations with Macedonia may be expected.

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ONLY 36 ELECTION PARTICIPANTS PROVIDE FINANCIAL REPORTS ABOUT FIRST HALF OF ELECTION CAMPAIGN
MIC – March 19, 2013 – 1:47pm

The Serb Progressive Party (SNP), which has candidates for mayors in eight municipalities in Macedonia, have so far spent no money on any activities by its candidates for mayors or council members, according to the financial report the party has provided to the relevant authorities about its income and costs in the first ten days of the local election campaign. The report reveals that the party received no donations to this effect either. On the other hand, this party has backed the candidacy of Stevco Jakimovski for mayor of the Skopje municipality of Karpos and he is currently conducting an intense campaign in the media and among citizens, Dnevnik reports.

Dragisa Miletic, leader of SNP, said the party did have some revenues and costs and that all of it would be stated in their next report.

The Party for European Future (PEI), whose candidates are running for mayors of Mavrovo-Rostuse and Dolneni, said they had so far received only one donation of 1,000 denars.

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Flash News
MIC – March 19, 2013 – 9:28am

- President Gjorge Ivanov is to take part Tuesday at the inauguration of Pope Francis in Vatican. Over 180 Presidents, Prime Minister and thousands of believers are to attend the ceremony which will be held on the St Peter’s Square in Rome.

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Flash News
MIC – March 15, 2013 – 10:21am

-    According to Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki, a Macedonian priority in the relations with the neighbors is the projects that connect citizens, and are in the spirit of the European integration. In his view, Macedonia is dedicated to promoting relations with its eastern neighbor. Also, he expects the fourth meeting of the working groups of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of both countries to be held eventually although the timing has not yet been defined considering Bulgaria is currently run by a technical government.

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GREECE AND BULGARIA DO NOT CARRY OUT STRASBOURG COURT’S VERDICTS
MIC – March 13, 2013 – 3:36pm

The verdicts of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg are binding for the member states, including Greece and Bulgaria. However, the committee that controls whether verdicts are being carried out consists of government representatives and therefore its decisions are not objective enough, former Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg told Dnevnik. During his tenure, he requested of Greece and Bulgaria in writing to protect the rights of their Macedonian minorities.

“It has been a year since I left Strasbourg and I don’t know what the situation is now but I definitely think I raised to a higher level the problem with the minorities in both countries,” Hammarberg says.

He adds that he stressed in his reports that hate speech should be put an end to in these countries and that every minority had the right to self-identification.

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FULE TO RELEASE REPORT ON MACEDONIA AFTER LOCAL ELECTIONS
MIC – March 12, 2013 – 2:02pm

The European Parliament, news agencies report, is going to vote on the Resolution on Macedonia on 8 April, that is, a day after the second round of the local elections, while the special spring report of the European Commission, which, as it was agreed at the December summit of the EU, is going to pay attention to the good neighborly relations with Bulgaria, the name issue talks with Greece, and the results of the High Level Accession Dialogue, will be released on 16 April, Nova Makedonija reports.

Whether Macedonia is set a date for opening accession talks at the June Summit of the European Council is going to depend on the report drafted by EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule’s team.

Talks about promoting good neighborly relations with the eastern neighbor have progressed recently but have not been completed because of the fall of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s Government and the preparations for holding early parliamentary elections in Bulgaria. In regard to the name issue talks with Greece, after several meetings of mediator Matthew Nimetz with the representatives of Greece and Macedonia, there is almost no information in the public as to what is going on. Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos has recently said in an interview with the Greek paper Kathimerini that he is reserved as regards the name issue talks.

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CREIGHTON: YOU NEED PEACEFUL ELECTIONS FOR GOOD REPORT FROM BRUSSELS
MIC – March 8, 2013 – 2:14pm

I am happy that the visit of Commissioner Stefan Fule, Rapporteur Richard Howitt and Jerzy Buzek, former Chairman of the European Parliament, proved successful in seeking out a solution to the political crisis. Macedonian political leaders demonstrated courage and responsibility in finding a solution in the best interest of the country. I hope the local elections will be a strong and transparent contest that will go peacefully. This is going to be a significant element of the spring report, says Lucinda Creighton, Irish Minister for European Affairs, and Chair-in-Office of the EU, in her interview with Dnevnik.

Do you expect Macedonia to be issued a positive report from the European Commission, which is going to decide in June whether the country can launch membership negotiations?

Crucial is that there are no doubts about the dedication of all Macedonian leaders to the European integration as a goal. In order to attain this goal, progress has been made in the past few months. Simultaneously with the implementation of the agreement between the government and the opposition, work on the priorities listed in the December Conclusions of the European Council should urgently continue. I can’t wait to see the spring report of the European Commission evaluating the progress in reforms and good-neighborly relations. Ireland will be content if the Council decides to open negotiations with the Republic of Macedonia.

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MACEDONIA AND SERBIA IN EU BY MONTENEGRIN SCENARIO
MIC – March 6, 2013 – 2:23pm

Experts forecast a Montenegrin scenario, that is, “a date for a date” for Macedonia and Serbia, the only candidate member states from the region expecting a green light for opening membership negotiations in June, Dnevnik reports.

According to some analysts, even in case positive recommendations are issued for both countries in April, setting new conditions in June is not ruled out. They all agree, however, that as far as enlargement goes, the interests of the member states move to the foreground at the expense of the Union’s long-term enlargement interests. In the words of Suzana Grubješić, Serbian Deputy Prime Minster for European Integration, agreements are clearly made in Brussels yet decisions are taken in Berlin. According to analyses, Germany as a key player is reserved in regard to the candidates that have not yet launched accession talks.

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MACEDONIA DRAFTS OVERVIEW ON GOOD NEIGHBORLY RELATIONS
MIC – March 5, 2013 – 2:05pm

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia has drafted an overview that should help the country receive a positive assessment of its relations with the neighbors by the European Commission. The overview, as Foreign Ministry officials told Dnevnik, focuses on Macedonia’s relations with all its neighbors, yet most of it is in the service of demonstrating good will for resolving the name issue with Greece.

The document lists all initiatives that Macedonia has undertaken to improve its relations with the southern neighbor, such as the proposals of the Government for signing a declaration on friendship and cooperation, establishing a joint education and history commission and a joint committee between the Ministries of Interior of both countries, opening a new border crossing and holding high-level meetings.

According to Dnevnik’s information, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also addresses the Interim Accord between Macedonia and Greece signed in 1995 and the Judgment of the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

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Flash News
MIC – March 5, 2013 – 9:37am

- Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanoski, as of 5 March, is to pay his first official visit to India upon the invitation of Indian Speaker of Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar.

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POLITICAL AGREEMENT REACHED, OPPOSITION TO RUN IN LOCAL POLL
MIC – March 4, 2013 – 3:26pm

Opposition and government leaders reached an agreement Friday brokered by European officials, according to which local elections will not be postponed as all political parties are going to return to Parliament, Dnevnik reports.

After a few hours of talks with the Macedonian political leaders, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule, Richard Howitt, the European Parliament Rapporteur on Macedonia, and Jerzy Buzek, former Chairman of the European Parliament, said the country returned to normal political life and to its European course.

“The parties agreed to resume normal political life, to return to Parliament and to participate in the scheduled local elections. They also agreed to form an ad-hoc commission about the events of before and after 24 December, including security in and out of Parliament, while the results of this commission’s work will be included in this year’s report of the European Commission on the country’s progress,” Mr. Howitt said after meeting the leaders of VMRO-DPMNE, SDSM and BDI, Nikola Gruevski, Branko Crvenkovski and Ali Ahmeti.

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Flash News
MIC – March 1, 2013 – 9:53am

- Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki on Thursday held his first meeting with John Kerry, new Secretary of State of the United States, at the sideline of a Transatlantic Dinner in Rome. Poposki said that Macedonia continues to contribute in the international missions and in conditions of a delayed EU membership. EU and NATO counterparts advised Poposki that the boycott of institutions does not help Macedonia’s NATO and EU membership.  

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Flash News
MIC – February 28, 2013 – 10:05am

- President Gjorge Ivanov on Wednesday met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Vienna and discussed about the name issue. Ki-moon stressed that the name issue has been pending for such a long a time, but a demonstration of good will and constructive approach by both parties may lead to progress. President Ivanov in his address at the Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations in Vienna stressed that Macedonia is one of the rare countries in Europe where Orthodox Christians and Muslims celebrate God in one object, under the same roof.

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Flash News
MIC – February 27, 2013 – 9:41am

- At an urgent session on Tuesday Macedonian Parliament adopted an amendment to the Electoral Law, enabling an extension of the deadline for submission of mayoral and council members' candidate lists to midnight of 3 March.

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Flash News
MIC – February 25, 2013 – 10:40am

- President Gjorge Ivanov in Sunday’s interview with internet portal MKD.MK expressed regret that the latest attempt aimed at solving the crisis failed a day before the deadline for submitting lists for the upcoming local elections expired. He revealed that his engagement in settling the ongoing political differences hasn't ended with the leaders' meeting and the proposal for establishing an expert commission about the events of 24 December but he had at least one more meeting with PM Gruevski and opposition leader Branko Crvenkovski and few telephone conversations that ended unsuccessfully.  Ivanov stressed that SDSM’s decision for boycott is not in the interest of citizens or the party itself.

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Flash News
MIC – February 22, 2013 – 9:55am

- European Commissioner Stefan Fule sent Thursday a letter to PM Nikola Gruevski and SDSM leader Branko Crvenkovski, telling them that the solution to the political crisis is in Skopje. Fule wrote that the European Union does not give up on Macedonia but the political dialogue must be reintroduced and for now, he is to avoid visiting Skopje and he is to wait on the creativity of Macedonian politicians. PM Nikola Gruevski immediately responded to Fule’s letter, expressing regret over the difficulties in overcoming political challenges deriving from the events of 24 December. Gruevski stressed that he is also aware of the risk they present to the above mentioned possibility in terms of the European agenda but added that the government has done its best to overcome this situation. Meanwhile, SDSM Secretary General Andrej Petrov is paying a visit to Brussels to try and explain his party’s standpoints.

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MACEDONIA AND HUNGARY TO ATTRACT EUROPEAN MONEY TOGETHER
MIC – February 20, 2013 – 3:03pm

Concrete projects from the fields of energy, tourism, agriculture and information technologies were the topics discussed at the meeting between Economy Minister Valon Saraqini and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest on Tuesday. According to Minister Saraqini, the visit of a large Hungarian delegation including businessmen to Macedonia at the end of May had also been confirmed.

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PARLIAMENT ELECTS NEW MINISTERS
MIC – February 19, 2013 – 2:01pm

Parliament elected Talat Xhaferi as Minister of Defense, Fatmir Besimi as Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs and Tahir Hani as Minister of Local Government at its session Monday. The mini government reshuffle affected only ministers from the ranks of BDI considering now former Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Teuta Arifi and Local Government Minister Nevzat Bejta resigned as MPs in order to run for mayors of Tetovo and Gostivar respectively.

Opposition PDSH demanded that not just the ministers but also BDI leader Ali Ahmeti should resign.

In the absence of the Macedonian opposition bloc in Parliament, only Dostoinstvo leader Stojance Angelov countered the proposal of appointing Talat Xhaferi as minister of defense, urging the MPs of VMRO-DPMNE not to vote for the former commander of the NLA (the paramilitary organization of the ethnic Albanian insurgents during the conflict of 2001).

Prime Minister Gruevski briefly explained why Xhaferi, Besimi and Hani should be the new government ministers and stated that the biographies of the new ministers had been provided to the MPs.

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BOYCOTT FATAL FOR DEMOCRACY
MIC – February 18, 2013 – 2:59pm

The decision of the Macedonian opposition front not to run in the local elections is going to prove fatal for democracy in Macedonia. Also, it will aggravate the political crisis and do irreparable damage to Macedonia’s foreign policy. These are the assessments of the political analysts following the decision of the opposition led by SDSM to definitely boycott the local elections after the leaders of the largest parties, Nikola Gruevski and Branko Crvenkovski, failed to reach an agreement. On the one hand, Crvenkovski insisted on an agreement on early parliamentary elections and, on the other hand, Gruevski ruled out that possibility and called on the opposition to measure its strengthen in the local elections on 24 March.

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Flash News
MIC – February 18, 2013 – 9:32am

- At Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki’s invitation, his Serbian counterpart Ivan Mrkic will be paying Monday a one day official visit to Macedonia. As the Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, apart from the talks between the two ministers, an agreement on cooperation in the European integration between Macedonia and Serbia should also be signed.

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