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North Macedonia to Conclude First Census in Almost 20 Years


North Macedonia to Conclude First Census in Almost 20 Years

North Macedonia
Photo: Balkan Insight

The Republic of North Macedonia will conclude its first national census in nearly 20 years today.

The census in the South Balkan nation is extremely politically sensitive due to laws in the country which grant special rights to ethnic groups that make up at least 20% of the population. These rights include official language status and public job quotas. Currently, the only group which meets this threshold besides the ethnic Macedonian majority is the Albanian community, which makes up 25% of the population.

The main opposition party, nationalist VMRO-DPMNE is firmly against the census, as is the left-wing Levica party. Both are concerned that the results will be biased in favor of the Albanian community. The primary Albanian-interest party—the DUI—however, has threatened not to recognize the results if they do not show Albanians comprising at least 20% of the population.

Expect a result which shows a growing ethnic Albanian population given relatively high birth rates in their community. This is likely to anger both ethnic Macedonians and those from smaller ethnic minorities—particularly Macedonian Turks—who may lose out on their own, lesser, guaranteed rights. As a result, political tensions will flare with the possibility of mass protests.

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