The deep political crisis and the crisis with the refugees were the main events in FYROM for 2016. The political crisis, which had started in 2015, continued. Although political parties reached the Przino Agreement, they failed in implementing it. The government of the country acted as an interim government and included three main parties, VMRO-DPMNE, SDSM (Social Democratic Union) and BDI (Democratic Union for Integration). The elections that were scheduled for the end of April failed as there were no suitable conditions for holding them. The failure of the elections led to the aggravation of the situation. With the intervention of the European Union and USA, talks continued between the four main political forces in the country, which in July reached a new political agreement for the holding of elections in December this year.
All year round there were anti-government protests organized by civil society known as “Multi-color Revolution” and these protests were backed by the opposition. The elections would be organized by a technical government with Emil Dimitriev as interim PM, appointed by VMRO-DPMNE. Meanwhile, the minister of Interior was appointed by the Macedonian opposition.
Until November, political parties delivered the necessary conditions and the elections were held on 11 December. These elections saw a narrow victory by VMRO-DPMNE, that won 51 seats, in front of the Macedonian opposition led by SDSM, which managed to win 49 seats, marking a significant growth compared to the previous elections. The new government will be decided by Albanian parties, which will be decisive in forming a majority of 61 MPs in the 120 seat parliament of the country. BDI (Democratic Union for Integration) which won 10 MPs along with the Alliance for Albanians, have revealed a platform for the advancement of the rights of Albanians, which will act as the basis for the creation of the new government. The new parliament gathered before the end of the year and the new government is expected to be formed in the first months of 2017.
2016 was characterized by the refugee crisis. After the large wave of refugees, the government continued the state of emergency on the border, keeping the border closed.
This situation led to the gathering of thousands of refugees from the Middle East, mainly from Syria, Iraq, while refugees from other countries remained blocked. The closure of the border caused a humanitarian catastrophe in the border area. Bearing in mind this chaotic situation in this border region, authorities in FYROM increased the presence of security forces on the border, but they were accompanied by EU police forces. However, many refugees exploited illegal routes to enter the territory of the country and to continue their journey.
There were rumors that refugee camps would open in the territory of the country, but this was rejected by Foreign Minister Nikola Popovski. The president of the country, George Ivanov continued with his warnings that the refugee crisis would continue and that this would be a threat for the security of the country, due to the infiltration of Jihadist groups among refugees.
More than a million and a half refugees went through FYROM on their way to Europe in the past two years. A while ago, eight refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan started legal proceedings against FYROM in the Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg, claiming that they were deported in violation of the European Convention for Human Rights.
In the framework of domestic security measures and to prevent the possibility of a security threat through radical elements or groups coming from the Middle East, in Skopje and several other cities, a group of people which recruited youngsters was arrested. These youngsters were recruited to participate in wars and become part of the terrorist group, ISIS. Among them there were also imams, who pleaded guilty and for this they were given prison sentences varying from 7 to 9 years.
The massive floods in the suburbs of Skopje were one of the most serious events that characterized last year. On August 6, heavy rain flooded around 20 neighborhoods and villages in the suburbs of Skopje, claiming the lives of 22 people, including children. An unprecedented catastrophe was seen in these areas, as over 5 thousand homes were damaged.
This catastrophe led to many people to remain homeless. The government decided to compensate those who suffered damages. Government spokesman, Aleksandar Gjorgjiev said that the payment would be spread out in several installments, but compensation would be 100%. But citizens complain that they haven’t yet received the money to repair their homes. /balkaneu.com/