Constitutional Reform: Ohrid Agreement

3.1. A revised Law on Local Self-Government will be adopted that reinforces the powers of elected local officials and enlarges substantially their competencies in conformity with the Constitution (as amended in accordance with Annex A) and the European Charter on Local Self-Government, and reflecting the principle of subsidiarity in effect in the European Union. Enhanced competencies will relate principally to the areas of public services, urban and rural planning, environmental protection, local economic development, culture, local finances, education, social welfare, and health care. A law on financing of local self-government will be adopted to ensure an adequate system of financing to enable local governments to fulfill all of their responsibilities.

8.1. The Constitutional amendments attached at Annex A will be presented to the Assembly immediately. The parties will take all measures to assure adoption of these amendments within 45 days of signature of this Framework Agreement.

ANNEX A: CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

Preamble

The citizens of the Republic of Macedonia, taking over responsibility for the present and future of their fatherland, aware and grateful to their predecessors for their sacrifice and dedication in their endeavors and struggle to create an independent and sovereign state of Macedonia, and responsible to future generations to preserve and develop everything that is valuable from the rich cultural inheritance and coexistence within Macedonia, equal in rights and obligations towards the common good -- the Republic of Macedonia, in accordance with the tradition of the Krushevo Republic and the decisions of the Antifascist People's Liberation Assembly of Macedonia, and the Referendum of September 8, 1991, they have decided to establish the Republic of Macedonia as an independent, sovereign state, with the intention of establishing and consolidating rule of law, guaranteeing human rights and civil liberties, providing peace and coexistence, social justice, economic well-being and prosperity in the life of the individual and the community, and in this regard through their representatives in the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, elected in free and democratic elections, they adopt.

Article 7

1. The Macedonian language, written using its Cyrillic alphabet, is the official language throughout the Republic of Macedonia and in the international relations of the Republic of Macedonia.

2. Any other language spoken by at least 20 percent of the population is also an official language, written using its alphabet, as specified below.

3. Any official personal documents of citizens speaking an official language other than Macedonian shall also be issued in that language, in addition to the Macedonian language, in accordance with the law.

4. Any person living in a unit of local self-government in which at least 20 percent of the population speaks an official language other than Macedonian may use any official language to communicate with the regional office of the central government with responsibility for that municipality; such an office shall reply in that language in addition to Macedonian. Any person may use any official language to communicate with a main office of the central government, which shall reply in that language in addition to Macedonian.

5. In the organs of the Republic of Macedonia, any official language other than Macedonian may be used in accordance with the law.

6. In the units of local self-government where at least 20 percent of the population speaks a particular language, that language and its alphabet shall be used as an official language in addition to the Macedonian language and the Cyrillic alphabet. With respect to languages spoken by less than 20 percent of the population of a unit of local self-government, the local authorities shall decide on their use in public bodies.

Article 8

1. The fundamental values of the constitutional order of the Republic of Macedonia are:

- the basic freedoms and rights of the individual and citizen, recognized in international law and set down in the Constitution;

- equitable representation of persons belonging to all communities in public bodies at all levels and in other areas of public life;

Article 19

1. The freedom of religious confession is guaranteed.

2. The right to express one's faith freely and publicly, individually or with others is guaranteed.

3. The Macedonian Orthodox Church, the Islamic Religious Community in Macedonia, the Catholic Church, and other Religious communities and groups are separate from the state and equal before the law.

4. The Macedonian Orthodox Church, the Islamic Religious Community in Macedonia, the Catholic Church, and other Religious communities and groups are free to establish schools and other social and charitable institutions, by ways of a procedure regulated by law.

Article 48

1. Members of communities have a right freely to express, foster and develop their identity and community attributes, and to use their community symbols.

2. The Republic guarantees the protection of the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity of all communities.

3. Members of communities have the right to establish institutions for culture, art, science and education, as well as scholarly and other associations for the expression, fostering and development of their identity.

4. Members of communities have the right to instruction in their language in primary and secondary education, as determined by law. In schools where education is carried out in another language, the Macedonian language is also studied.

Article 56

(2) The Republic guarantees the protection, promotion and enhancement of the historical and artistic heritage of Macedonia and all communities in Macedonia and the treasures of which it is composed, regardless of their legal status. The law regulates the mode and conditions under which specific items of general interest for the Republic can be ceded for use.

Article 69

(2) For laws that directly affect culture, use of language, education, personal documentation, and use of symbols, the Assembly makes decisions by a majority vote of the Representatives attending, within which there must be a majority of the votes of the Representatives attending who claim to belong to the communities not in the majority in the population of Macedonia. In the event of a dispute within the Assembly regarding the application of this provision, the Committee on Inter-Community Relations shall resolve the dispute.

Article 77

1. The Assembly elects the Public Attorney by a majority vote of the total number of Representatives, within which there must be a majority of the votes of the total number of Representatives claiming to belong to the communities not in the majority in the population of Macedonia.

2. The Public Attorney protects the constitutional rights and legal rights of citizens when violated by bodies of state administration and by other bodies and organizations with public mandates. The Public Attorney shall give particular attention to safeguarding the principles of non-discrimination and equitable representation of communities in public bodies at all levels and in other areas of public life.

Article 78

1. The Assembly shall establish a Committee for Inter-Community Relations.

2. The Committee consists of seven members each from the ranks of the Macedonians and Albanians within the Assembly, and five members from among the Turks, Vlachs, Romanies and two other communities. The five members each shall be from a different community; if fewer than five other communities are represented in the Assembly, the Public Attorney, after consultation with relevant community leaders, shall propose the remaining members from outside the Assembly.

3. The Assembly elects the members of the Committee.

4. The Committee considers issues of inter-community relations in the Republic and makes appraisals and proposals for their solution.

5. The Assembly is obliged to take into consideration the appraisals and proposals of the Committee and to make decisions regarding them.

6. In the event of a dispute among members of the Assembly regarding the application of the voting procedure specified in Article 69(2), the Committee shall decide by majority vote whether the procedure applies.

Article 84

The President of the Republic of Macedonia

- proposes the members of the Council for Inter-Ethnic Relations:

Article 86

1. The President of the Republic is President of the Security Council of the Republic of Macedonia.

2. The Security Council of the Republic is composed of the President of the Republic, the President of the Assembly, the Prime Minister, the Ministers heading the bodies of state administration in the fields of security, defence and foreign affairs and three members appointed by the President of the Republic. In appointing the three members, the President shall ensure that the Security Council as a whole equitably reflects the composition of the population of Macedonia.

3. The Council considers issues relating to the security and defence of the Republic and makes policy proposals to the Assembly and the Government.

Article 104

1. The Republican Judicial Council is composed of seven members.

2. The Assembly elects the members of the Council. Three of the members shall be elected by a majority vote of the total number of Representatives, within which there must be a majority of the votes of the total number of Representatives claiming to belong to the communities not in the majority in the population of Macedonia.

Article 109

1. The Constitutional Court of Macedonia is composed of nine judges.

2. The Assembly elects six of the judges to the Constitutional Court by a majority vote of the total number of Representatives. The Assembly elects three of the judges by a majority vote of the total number of Representatives, within which there must be a majority of the votes of the total number of Representatives claiming to belong to the communities not in the majority in the population of Macedonia.

3. Article 114

(5) Local self-government is regulated by a law adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of the total number of Representatives, within which there must be a majority of the votes of the total number of Representatives claiming to belong to the communities not in the majority in the population of Macedonia. The laws on local finances, local elections, boundaries of municipalities, and the city of Skopje shall be adopted by a majority vote of the Representatives attending, within which there must be a majority of the votes of the Representatives attending who claim to belong to the communities not in the majority in the population of Macedonia.

Article 115

(1) In units of local self-government, citizens directly and through representatives participate in decision-making on issues of local relevance particularly in the fields of public services, urban and rural planning, environmental protection, local economic development, local finances, communal activities, culture, sport, social security and child care, education, health care and other fields determined by law.

Article 131

1. The decision to initiate a change in the Constitution is made by the Assembly by a two-thirds majority vote of the total number of Representatives.

2. The draft amendment to the Constitution is confirmed by the Assembly by a majority vote of the total number of Representatives and then submitted to public debate.

3. The decision to change the Constitution is made by the Assembly by a two-thirds majority vote of the total number of Representatives.

4. A decision to amend the Preamble, the articles on local self-government, Article 131, any provision relating to the rights of members of communities, including in particular Articles 7, 8, 9, 19, 48, 56, 69, 77, 78, 86, 104 and 109, as well as a decision to add any new provision relating to the subject matter of such provisions and articles, shall require a two-thirds majority vote of the total number of Representatives, within which there must be a majority of the votes of the total number of Representatives claiming to belong to the communities not in the majority in the population of Macedonia.

5. The change in the Constitution is declared by the Assembly.

Implementation History

2001

Full Implementation

The Macedonian assembly, on 7 September 2001, approved the Ohrid Agreement and paved the wayfor the advancement of the peace process to the next stage involving disarmament of ethnic Albanian rebels and the disbandment of National Liberation Army (NLA). After the disarmament, which was scheduled to be completed within 30 days (by 27 September) of the deployment of the NATO mission, the constitutional amendments were said to be forwarded.

On 19 September 2001, after the meeting of the assembly’s constitutional commission, president Trajkovski recommended that the Macedonian Assembly draft amendments on constitutions. It was said that the public debate was to last for 10 days starting the day when the assembly drafts the amendments.1 But, the proposal by the small New Democracy party to put the constitutional amendments to a referendum disrupted the drafting process.2

On 16 November 2001, the Macedonian assembly approved 15 different amendments of the constitution including a new -- that gives improved rights to the country's ethnic Albanians. These amendments were adopted by a large majority, with 94 deputies voting in favor and only 14 against the measures.3

  • 1. "Macedonia: Assembly body recommends going on with constitutional amendments," BBC Monitoring Europe, September 19, 2001.
  • 2. "NATO begins last stage of weapons collection in Macedonia, parliament debate reflects obstacles ahead to peace," Associated Press, September 20, 2001.
  • 3. "Macedonia gets new constitution boosting ethnic-Albanian rights," Agence France Presse, November 16, 2001; For details of amendments, see, http://eudo-citizenship.eu/NationalDB/docs/MAC%20Const%20Amendments%20IV....
2002

Full Implementation

Constitutional changes were made in November 2001 as decided in the framework agreement. 

2003

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2004

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2005

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2006

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2007

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2008

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2009

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2010

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.