The main opposition party, VMRO-DPMNE, announced that in two days more than 45,000 signatures were collected against the census of the country, which will be conducted in April this year.
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, no matter how many citizens’ signatures the official opposition party collects, they cannot be a legal basis for the repeal 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 attempting to alter the demographic composition of the country.
The main opposition party is also protesting because Zoran Zaef’s government did not accept any of the amendments it tabled in parliament last month on the census bill, saying it should be postponed. According to him, the conditions created 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 Mickovski 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 one that started in October 2011 was interrupted a few days before its completion, due to strong disagreements between the members – Slavs and Albanians – of the state commission in charge of its conduct.
Since then, all attempts to reach a consensus and conduct a population census have failed, reflecting a climate of suspicion between the country’s two major ethnic communities (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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