Dating macedonian republic
As with so many states born out of empires and larger federations, the Republic of Macedonia has inherited complex demographics coupled with competing claims for self-determination.Macedonia’s population of some two million is divided both along ethnic and religious lines with ethnic Macedonians making up 64.2% of the total population.
Macedonia’s Albanian community particularly opposed the wording of the preamble to the 1991 Macedonian constitution, which explicitly declared the right of the Macedonian people to a state, envisaging the Republic of Macedonia as foremost a Macedonian nation-state, in which ethnic minorities, including Albanians, were granted full rights.In the two decades following Macedonian independence, domestic politics and inter-ethnic relations were further complicated by the unresolved status of Kosovo.During the Yugoslav era there had been a constant movement of Albanians between Kosovo and Albanian-dominated western Macedonia because no international border existed.Whilst ethnic Macedonians defended their right to national self-determination in the form of a Macedonian nation-state, the Albanian community rejected their minority status, arguing that their population was greater than official statistics reported.Hence, they claimed a right to self-determination as a constituent nation, on a par with the Macedonian nation. A core issue was – and still is – the ownership and character of the state.Furthermore, article 7 of the constitution established that the Macedonian language (using the Cyrillic alphabet) was the only official language, and article 19 made special reference to the Macedonian Orthodox Church, which again asserted ethnic Macedonian ownership of the state.
Yet at the same time, the bulk of the new constitution embraced a liberal, civic concept of citizenship, providing for equal rights for all citizens of Macedonia irrespective of ethnic and/or religious affinity.
Relations between the Albanian parties have generally been tense and, especially at election time, there has been outright hostility between them.
Not infrequently, the friction among the Albanian political parties has been more acute than the conflict between Albanian parties on the one hand and Macedonian parties on the other.
Greece and Serbia, however, saw their national interests threatened by this development and began competing with the Bulgarians in extending their influence over Macedonia.
Following the Balkan wars of 19, geographical Macedonia was divided, with Greece and Serbia claiming most of the territory, leaving Bulgaria with the rest.
Albanian refusal to participate in the referendum could also be seen as a protest against the failure of the Macedonian leadership to clarify the legal status of the Albanian population in an independent Macedonian state.