Political controversy has erupted in northern Macedonia focusing on census population that will take place in April this year.
The main opposition party, VMRO-DPMNE, is collecting citizens’ signatures against the census, announcing that more than 45,000 were gathered in two days.
VMRO-DPMNE demands the repeal of the law passed last month by the Parliament for the census of population, households and houses in 2021 and last Saturday started collecting signatures throughout Northern Macedonia, to pressure the government of Zoran Zaef to withdraw the inventory law. However, as AMPE explains, no matter how many citizens’ signatures the official opposition party collects, can not be a legal basis for the annulment of the law.
“Thanks to every citizen for their support. No one has the right to ignore people, people are the power, the energy and they tell the truth. 45,000 signatures for a real and not a fake inventory. But also a very loud message to the government, which if it does not understand now, will understand very soon “, it is mentioned in a relevant announcement of VMRO-DPMNE.
The census will take place between April 1st and 21st, 2021. However, the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE warns that it will not recognize its results, accusing the Prime Minister of Northern Macedonia Zoran Zaef and Ali Ahmeti, the leader of DUI, of of a larger Albanian party, for an attempt to alter the demographic composition of the country.
The main opposition party is still protesting because its government Zoran Zaef did not accept any of the amendments he submitted to the debate in Parliament on the bill for the census, last month, while he considers that it should be postponed, as, as he states, the conditions that have formed due to the pandemic of the new coronavirus do not allow it to take place.
Zoran Zaef’s ruling Social Democratic Party (SDSM) accuses VMRO-DPMNE leader Christian Mickoski of trying to “politicize the census and incite conflict by systematically undermining the interests of citizens and the state”.
The last census in the country was conducted in 2002, while another that started in October 2011 was interrupted a few days before its completion, due to strong disagreements between the members — Slavs and Albanians– the State Committee in charge of its conduct.
Since then all attempts to reach a consensus and conduct a population census have failed, which reflects the climate of suspicion between the two major ethnic communities of the country (Slavs and Albanians).
According to the 2002 census, the country’s population was about 2,020,000 people.
In that census, 64.18% had declared “Macedonians”, 25.17% “Albanians”, 3.85% Turks, 2.66% Roma, 1.8% Serbs, 0.85% Bosnians and 0.5% Vlachs. The members of the other ethnic groups did not exceed 1%.
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