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                                                    PRESIDENTIAL AND PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN NORTH MACEDONIA

On May 8th, 2024 North Macedonia will hold double elections; the second round of the presidential and scheduled parliamentary elections. The first round of the presidential election was held on April 24th, 2024 with the center-right VMRO-DPMNE candidate, Gordana Siljanovska – Dankova achieving a substantial victory over the ruling SDSM candidate and incumbent President, Stevo Pendarovski. Siljanovska got 40.1% of the votes, while Pendarovski took 19.9%, signaling a dominant victory for the VMRO-DPMNE candidate. However, since none of the candidates achieved the absolute majority, namely more than 50% plus one vote, a runoff between the two candidates is needed on May 8th, 2024. The parliamentary election is considered as more important than the presidential one, taking into consideration that the President of the state enjoys a rather ceremonial role with limited institutional powers.

Siljanovska’s broad victory demonstrates in the most emphatic way that a political change of power is taking place in the country’s internal politics, due to the citizens’ frustration for the state’s EU accession failure, the deterioration of the economy and people’s living standards, and the excessive corruption. Actually, the progress of the country’s accession to the EU was the main pre-electoral question and Pendarovski acknowledged it by stating after the first round of the election that the result is related with the slow progress of EU accession. Apart from the two main ethnic Slav-Macedonian parties, there are two coalitions – the European Front (which includes DUI) and VLEN – representing ethnic Albanians and will have a regulatory role on the next election day. The “For our Macedonia” (ZNAM) party could also have an important role in the formation of a new Government following the parliamentary election and assessing that none of the parties will achieve the absolute majority in the 120 seat Parliament.

The Euro-Atlantic community – namely the EU, the US, and NATO – are watching the potential political shift in North Macedonia carefully since there are concerns that a VMRO-DPMNE ruling coalition could follow a rather pro-Russian stance, undermining the stability and cohesion of the regional security architecture amid the war in Ukraine and the Russian aggression. Moreover, VMRO-DPMNE is maintaining a nationalist hardline which threatens to deteriorate neighboring relations with Bulgaria and Greece, further undermining the European future of the country. In short, the May 8th parliamentary elections are considered as critical for the state regarding the EU accession negotiations, the improvement of relations with neighboring countries, the establishment of rule of law, the fight of corruption, and the improvement of state’s economy and living standards.
 


May 7th, 2024

Ioannis Karampelas

President of HERMES Institute of International Affairs, Security & Geoeconomy

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May 20th, 2024

National Day of the Republic of Cameroon 

                 





The National Day of Cameroon, also known as the Unity Day, is celebrated on May 20th every year, marking the adoption of a unitary state on this day in 1972. Cameroon became a German colony in 1884, known as "Kamerun."  After Germany's defeat in the World War I, the administration of the colony was divided between Britain and France, becoming UN Trust Territories after the end of the World War II and the creation of the United Nations. The United Nations Trust Territory known as "French Cameroun" achieved independence from France on January 1st, 1960, and British Southern Cameroons became a federated state within Cameroon on October 1st, 1961. On May 20th, 1972, in a national referendum, Cameroonians voted for a unitary state as opposed to the existing federal state.  President Ahmadou Ahidjo then abolished the federal system of government in favour of a unitary state, the Republic of Cameroon.  ​​

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