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Publication Date

11-3-2016

Abstract

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (“FYROM”) experienced four major changes to its electoral system in the eight parliamentary elections held between 1990 and 2014. The Macedonian 1990 and 1994 parliamentary elections were held under a majority system, in which 120 members of the Parliament were elected from 120 constituencies, one member per constituency. A mixed-majority/proportional representation (“PR”) system was adopted for the 1998 elections, in which eighty-five seats were elected under the majority system from the constituencies, and thirty-five seats were elected proportionally from a nation-wide electoral district. Yet another system was adopted for the 2002 elections, in which the FYROM was divided into six electoral districts electing twenty seats in each district proportionally. The PR system proved to be somewhat more stable, as the pillars of this system remain the same to date. However, an additional tweak was introduced for the 2011 and 2014 elections when three extra seats were added to the parliament for representation of Macedonian citizens living abroad. These three seats are now elected through the majority First Past the Post (“FPTP”) system in three single member constituencies abroad. Throughout its years of parliamentary democracy, the FYROM experienced multiple political crises, mainly due to the lack of political consensus among parties representing the Macedonian community, but also because of tension and conflict between the Albanians and Macedonians living in the FYROM. This paper will examine the potential influence of electoral systems in political developments in the FYROM—how the electoral systems may have affected the representation of minorities in the parliament and why the FYROM has yet to find a happy marriage with an electoral system. The paper reviews academic literature on the relationship between electoral systems and politics, provides a contextual background of each parliamentary election held in the FYROM from 1990 to 2016, and presents empirical data on the allocation of seats per political party under the different electoral systems.