UMD: Building a Stronger More Prosperous Macedonia

The United Macedonian Diaspora, one of the leading international non-governmental organizations with a goal to unite Macedonians and Macedonian communities abroad, congratulated today President Gjorge Ivanov and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski on successfully winning this past weekend’s elections in Macedonia. UMD congratulated the three members of Parliament elected from the Diaspora, hope they will work hard to adequately represent non-partisan Diaspora-views in Macedonia’s Parliament, and help to strengthen the image of the Diaspora among the domestic populace.

“Notwithstanding allegations of election irregularities and other problems, Macedonia has shown the rest of the world that it is dedicated to the democratic process and has demonstrated its maturity once again by holding peaceful and democratic elections with integrity; all institutions need to work to resolve problems and move forward for the sake of the country’s future,” said UMD Chairman Stojan Nikolov. “Macedonia’s leadership has key tasks ahead of them, above all, to improve the economy, institute key reforms that would put the country on a path of joining NATO and the EU as soon as possible, and ensure the public is less dependent on the state.”

“As an OSCE/ODHIR official stated during a press conference in Skopje when announcing their election observer’s report on Monday, a ‘boycott is not a very democratic instrument,’ I too join in this sentiment and we call upon opposition leaders to look towards the future; in a democracy, you need an opposition to provide oversight of the government, the opposition’s place is in Parliament through institutional mechanisms,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski. “Moreover, the boycott of the Presidential elections by the main ethnic Albanian political bloc was not constructive, and reflects badly on the country. The time for boycotts is over.”

Prior to the elections, UMD conducted a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. on looking forward and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Macedonia. Among others, one of the main challenges for the country is ethnic politics, and political parties being founded on ethnic principles rather than ideological ones. UMD urges Macedonia’s leaders to promote multicultural co-existence, and greater respect for Macedonia’s flag, institutions, and well-being.

“Given Macedonia’s goals to join Euro-Atlantic institutions, we urge Macedonia’s leadership to strengthen its case by engaging with EU and NATO actors, and using every opportunity to present the strategic interests for Macedonia to be part of the EU and NATO as soon as possible,” said UMD Europe Director Filip Altiparmakovski.

UMD was pleased that the right for the Diaspora to vote was granted once again for the second time in Parliamentary elections, and for the first time in Presidential elections. Since being founded in 2004, UMD has advocated for the Diaspora’s right to vote. UMD, a non-partisan, non-political, and non-governmental organization, urged the Diaspora to vote and partake in exercising this right through its AJDE Vote, АЈДЕ Гласајте initiative.

UMD urges Macedonia’s leaders, including the opposition, to reform the electoral process by allowing easier voter registration processes, and an electronic means of Diaspora voting or via postal ballots, especially in areas were there is no Macedonian embassy or consulate in close vicinity.

“23 years since independence, we have never been more certain for the need to unite and work together to help Macedonia and its citizens and all Macedonians, wherever they may be, to build an even stronger and more prosperous Macedonia. Macedonians are responsible for one another, and only through shared responsibility and accountability can we ensure that Macedonia’s brighter days are ahead of us,” concluded Nikolov.