The Republic of Macedonia is a parliamentary republic with a ceremonial, non – executive president. The main political role in the country is held by the Prime Minister of Macedonia, which is the de facto chief executive. However, throughout the years and to this day, the Macedonian presidents have been influential political figures, taking parts in the country’s main political issues.
The presidential elections are carried out every five years, and as of today, the Republic of Macedonia has had 4 presidents.
The official presidential residence and workplace is Villa Vodno, located on the Vodno Mountain and overlooking the city of Skopje. The current president of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov, is the first president that has resided in this palace.
The former Macedonian presidents are: Kiro Gligorov, Boris Trajkovski and Branko Crvenkovski.
Kiro Gligorov was the first Macedonian president. He was elected president of Macedonia at the age of 74, after having a successful political career in the time of SFR Yugoslavia. In SFRY, he was President of the Assembly, Secretary of State for Finance in Federal Executive Council and also served as Finance Minister of Yugoslavia.
During the World War II, he was involved in the fight against fascists in the National Liberation War of Macedonia. His broad knowledge and experience in politics, law and economics, made him the best choice for the leader of a new country.
Kiro Gligorov was the head of state in one of the most crucial moments in Macedonian history – the referendum on September 8, 1991, which granted independence to the Republic of Macedonia. During his presidency (1991-1999), he made efforts to keep the country safe and out of the Yugoslav wars, which had a catastrophic impact on the Balkan region.
Kiro Gligorov served two terms as a president of Macedonia. He is also the only Macedonian president that was a target of an assassination attempt. After the retirement of his political career, he devoted his time on his foundation as well as creating books. He passed away in 2012, at the old age of 94.
Boris Trajkovski was the second president of the independent Republic of Macedonia. He was a law graduate at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje and a theology student at the Protestant theological college in the United States.
Trajkovski got involved in politics after joining the VMRO-DPMNE party in 1991. He was appointed Chairman of the party’s Foreign Relations Commission and later in 1998 he became Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. His political career came to a peak when he was elected President of Macedonia on November 19, 1999, at the age of 43.
During his presidency, there were tensions between ethnic Macedonians and ethnic Albanians as a result from the Kosovo war, which led Macedonia to the brink of a civil war. Trajkovski and his Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski managed to get the country out of this crisis by reaching out to NATO and signing a peace deal in Ohrid in 2001.
In 2002, he became an honorary member of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George and made knight by HM Queen Elizabeth II. The same year, he received the World Methodist Peace Award by the World Methodist Council, for his efforts in ensuring political stability and peace in the Balkan region.
Boris Trajkovski’s presidency, however, was stopped by his tragic death on 26 February, 2004. He and his eight associates died in a plane crash on their way to a conference in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Branko Crvenkovski is the third president of Macedonia. He graduated in Computer Science and Automation at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje in 1986, but turned to politics just a few years later, when he became a member of the Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia in 1990.
Crvenkovski has been a significant figure in the political scene in Macedonia. He was elected president of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia three times: in 1992, 1994 and 2002 and acted as leader of the party Social Democratic Union of Macedonia from 1991 to 2004.
He was the Prime Minister of Macedonia from 1992 to 1998, and was reelected in 2002, when his party won the parliamentary elections, continuing to serve as Prime Minister until 2004. Branko Crvenkovski won the presidential election in 2004, and after the end of the mandate, he returned to leading his Social Democratic party.
Current president of Macedonia
The current president of Macedonia is Gjorge Ivanov. He was participating in politics and civil society activism since the Yugoslav era. He is the founder of the Macedonian Political Science Association and one of the founders of the Institute for Democracy Societas Civillis, an analytical institute in Macedonia.
Ivanov is a leading expert in civil society and political management. He pursued an academic career and became a professor at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje quite early in his academic trajectory.
Ivanov taught political theory and political philosophy at the Political Studies Department within the Law Faculty in Skopje, as well as Universities in Athens, Sarajevo and Bologna, where he was a visiting professor.
Gjorgje Ivanov became the fourth Macedonian president in May 2009, and was re-elected for his second term in April, 2014. During his terms, he has made efforts to resolve the country’s name dispute with Greece, as well as take Macedonia closer to EU and NATO membership. He’s also been focused on ensuring political stability within the country, establishing good relations with the neighboring countries, and bringing Macedonia to economic recovery after the political crisis that began in 2016. Ivanov continues to strive for peace and respect of the diversity and national identity of the Macedonian and European people.
The president of Macedonia is a significant political figure in the country, despite his limited power to engage in most of the political and executive processes.