|Founded||June 17, 1990 (as Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity)|
|Youth wing||Youth Force Union|
|Political position||Centre-right to Right-wing|
|European affiliation||European People's Party (associate member)|
|International affiliation||International Democrat Union|
|Colours||Red, Black, Gold|
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The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (Macedonian: Внатрешна македонска револуционерна организација – Демократска партија за македонско национално единство), simplified as VMRO-DPMNE, is one of the two major Macedonian parties, the other being the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM). The party has proclaimed itself as Christian democratic, but has been described as nationalist. Under the leadership of Ljubčo Georgievski in its beginning, the party supported Macedonian independence from Socialist Yugoslavia. The party has been leading a pro-European and pro-NATO policy in recent years, but it does not agree to the country's name changing. VMRO's support is based on ethnic Macedonians with some exceptions; it claims that "the party's goals and objectives express the tradition of the Macedonian people on whose political struggle and concepts it is based." Nevertheless, it has formed multiple coalition governments with ethnic minority parties.
The first section of the acronym 'VMRO' which forms the party's name derives from the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, a rebel movement formed in 1893. After undergoing various transformations, the original organization was suppressed in the 1930s, at which time the territory of the current Republic of Macedonia was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The VMRO–DPMNE claims ideological descent from the old VMRO.
Following the death of Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito in 1980, SFR Yugoslavia began to disintegrate and democratic politics were revived in Macedonia. Many exiles returned to the newly independent Republic of Macedonia from abroad, and a new generation of young Macedonian intellectuals rediscovered the history of Macedonian nationalism. In these circumstances it was not surprising that the name of the famed Macedonian rebels was revived. Under the name VMRO–DPMNE, the party was founded on June 17, 1990 in Skopje.
Rise to power
After the first multi-party elections in 1990, VMRO–DPMNE became the strongest party in the Parliament. It did not form a government because it did not achieve a majority of seats; this forced it to form a coalition with an ethnic Albanian party, but it refused to do so. The party boycotted the second round of the 1994 elections claiming fraud in the first round. After winning the 1998 election, VMRO–DPMNE surprised many people when finally forming a coalition government with an ethnic Albanian party, the Democratic Party of Albanians. After their victory in the elections, they formed a new government with Ljubčo Georgievski as Prime Minister. In 1999, VMRO–DPMNE's candidate Boris Trajkovski was elected President, completing VMRO–DPMNE's takeover. Once in office, Trajkovski adopted a more moderate policy than expected.
VMRO–DPMNE's government was defeated at the 2002 legislative elections. In an alliance with the Liberal Party of Macedonia, VMRO–DPMNE won 28 out of 120 seats. In 2004 Trajkovski died in a plane crash and Branko Crvenkovski was elected President, defeating the VMRO–DPMNE's candidate Saško Kedev.
The first President of the VMRO–DPMNE and its founder was Ljubčo Georgievski, and the current president of the party is Nikola Gruevski. The party became the largest party in Parliament again after a net gain of over a dozen seats in the 2006 parliamentary elections. With 44 of 120 seats, the party formed a government in coalition with the Democratic Party of Albanians. On May 15, 2007, the party became an observer-member of the European People's Party.
The party won 2008 early parliamentary elections. In the 120 seats Parliament, VMRO–DPMNE won 63 seats, enough to form its own government, and by that, the party won 4 more years of dominance in the Macedonian Parliament (mandate period 2008-2012) and government control. After the Parliament constituted itself on the 21st of June, 2008, the President Branko Crvenkovski on the 23rd of June, 2008 gave the VMRO–DPMNE's leader and current and future prime minister Nikola Gruevski the mandate to form the new Government of the Republic of Macedonia (mandate period 2008-2012).
In 2009, the party had another two major successes. While the VMRO–DPMNE-led coalition "For a better Macedonia" won in 56 out of 84 municipalities, the party's presidential candidate Gjorge Ivanov also won the presidential election.
VMRO–DPMNE has been criticised for its "antiquisation" policy (known locally as "Antikvizacija"), in which the country seeks to claim ancient Macedonian figures like Alexander the Great and Philip II of Macedon. The policy has been pursued since the coming to power in 2006, and especially since Macedonia's non-invitation to NATO in 2008, as a way of putting pressure on Greece as well as in an attempt to construct a new identity on the basis of a presumed link to the world of antiquity. Antiquisation policy is facing criticism by academics as it demonstrates feebleness of archaeology and of other historical disciplines in public discourse, as well as a danger of marginalization. The policy has also attracted criticism domestically, by ethnic Macedonians within the country, who see it as dangerously dividing the country between those who identify with classical antiquity and those who identify with the country's Slavic culture. Ethnic Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia see it as an attempt to marginalize them and exclude them from the national narrative. The policy, which also claims as ethnic Macedonians figures considered national heroes in Bulgaria, such as Todor Aleksandrov and Ivan Mihailov, has drawn criticism from Bulgaria, and is regarded to have a negative impact on the international position of the country. Foreign diplomats have warned that the policy has reduced international sympathy for the Republic of Macedonia in the naming dispute with Greece. SDSM, the main opposition party, is opposed to the project and has alleged that the monuments in the project could have cost six to ten times less than what the government paid, which may already have exceeded 600 million euros.
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