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Municipal decentralisation in the Republic of Macedonia: preserving a multi-ethnic state?

[journal article]

Lyon, Aisling

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Abstract Ten years on from signing the Ohrid Framework Agreement, is the Republic of Macedonia’s peace process, of which municipal decentralisation is a primary component, broadly benefitting all communities equally? To what extent is municipal decentralisation and minority protection mechanisms administered at the local level preserving Macedonian society’s multiethnic character, or has the country taken a step closer towards the development of a binational state? There were definitely ‘winners’ as a result of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, but were there also ‘losers’, and who are they? The decentralisation process in Macedonia has widely been regarded as a success story by regional and international actors alike. It is frequently considered a suitable model of ethnic conflict management that can be replicated in other regional contexts, such as for Serbs living in neighbouring Kosovo. Decentralisation sought to offer limited autonomy to Macedonia’s ethnic communities, in particular the ethnic Albanians. By increasing the number of competencies administered at the municipal level, the reforms aimed to provide local, culturally diverse communities greater control over the management of their own affairs. This paper seeks to apprise the minority rights protection mechanisms contained in the 2001 Ohrid Framework Agreement, particularly those at the municipal level, along with implementation of the wider of decentralisation reforms. The paper will also consider the claim that the protection mechanisms envisaged in Ohrid and the process of decentralisation to date has not benefitted all Macedonia’s ethnic communities equally. Instead, it has reinforced steps towards bi-nationalism at the expense of genuine multiculturalism.
Keywords Macedonia; peace process; decentralization; multicultural society; minority rights; ethnic conflict; conflict management; ethnic relations; minority policy; post-socialist country
Classification Political System, Constitution, Government; Peace and Conflict Research, International Conflicts, Security Policy
Document language English
Publication Year 2011
Page/Pages p. 28-49
Journal Federal Governance, 8 (2011) 3
Issue topic Federalism, local government and policy-making
ISSN 1923-6158
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Basic Digital Peer Publishing Licence