North Macedonia: The census at the center of political controversy pending Presidential signature

North Macedonia: The census at the center of political controversy pending Presidential signature

Pending the signing of the decree on the census law by President Stevo Pendarovski, the leaders of the ruling parties are explaining to the citizens the importance of this statistical operation, which will take place in North Macedonia after 19 years, between April 1 and April 21.

The Prime Minister and leader of the ruling SDSM, Zoran Zaev, reiterated that he sees no reason to postpone the census and expects Pendarovski to sign the decree law on the census earlier this week after consulting with experts. As for the position of the opposition, he is glad that he no longer hears the call for a boycott and reminds that VMRO-DPMNE does not need to collect signatures, because only one MP can submit a new law or amend another law.

“I do not see any reason to postpone it. I am glad that the President of the country once again with experts, examines it with an impartial eye, so that the government is not overthrown by a claim, as a small part of the opposition, the Macedonian opposition, speaking in conditional terms, claims something different because the Albanian opposition passed the law. This will be another correction. President Pendarovski will also announce his position, probably early next week, Zaev said yesterday.

The Prime Minister of North Macedonia believes that it is clear to everyone how important this statistical act is and how big is the duty of all citizens to implement it.

In an interview on local television, DUI leader Ali Ahmeti, on the subject of the census, pointed out that all people living in the country and owning property would be recorded. He assured that the institutions will do their job, so everyone living in the country and abroad will be included in the census. Ahmeti also clarified how the dispersion will be recorded.

“There have been discussions about the census, including public debates. It is a statistical issue, not a political one, and this recording needs to be completed. Relevant international institutions, such as the UN and the EU, are asking us to do so. We need to have more accurate statistics on the country’s economy, on the country’s property, on the country’s population and no one will be an exception. First, those who are abroad will be registered here through valid documents from their relatives or through the State Statistical Office, in order to find out how for long they live here and for how long abroad. However, everyone is a resident of this country”, stressed the president of DUI.

As for the expectations from the results, he noted that the Albanians could not be less than 25 percent, as was the case in 2002. He explained the number by concluding that the Albanians in North Macedonia have a birth rate that has increased in recent years.

The opposition VMRO-DPMNE, whose MPs did not support the census law, reacted and called on the president to act soberly and professionally and decide on the census, although they believe that Pendarovski will even sign the decree after consultation.

According to VMRO-DPMNE MP, Timcho Mucunski, the country is entering a political process and not a statistical one. Proof of this claim, according to him, is that the deputy director of the State Statistical Service has the right to veto the results of the census.

“And let us ask ourselves the question, whether it is a statistical process when a veto was exercised by the deputy director of the Protection and Rescue Directorate” Mucunski asked.

Mucunski believes that Pendarovski will sign the decree on the Census Law and that their message to him is to consult objective and independent experts, who he believes will “approve much of VMRO-DPMNE’s remarks”.

He stressed that in the country there are appropriate databases with which an electronic inventory can be conducted, which, according to him, can be more reliable in terms of results, but also much cheaper and more efficient.

US Ambassador to the country Kate Marie Burns supported the adoption of the census law in Parliament and in an interview with the Voice of America assessed that it is an important step forward, because in the country the population and property have not been registered for almost 20 years, and this statistical act is vital for the creation of future development policies.

“First of all, I am very happy that the census law was passed in Parliament. In addition, it passed with the support of two partners of the opposition and the ruling coalition. This is an important step. North Macedonia has not had a census for almost 20 years, and this has affected the policy-making process, as accurate population figures are an important part of future planning. “We expect the government to ensure that the census is conducted by professionals who will provide information that will help the country in the future”, Burns said./ibna