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Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity

Внатрешна македонска револуционерна организација - Демократска партија за македонско национално единство
LeaderHristijan Mickoski[1]
FounderLjubčo Georgievski,[2] Dragan Bogdanovski, Goran Jakovlevski[3]
FoundedJune 17, 1990
Youth wingYouth Force Union
IdeologyMacedonian nationalism[4]
Christian democracy[12][13]
National conservatism[14]
Economic liberalism[15]
Right-wing populism[16]
Political positionCentre-right[17][18][19]
to right-wing[20]
European affiliationEuropean People's Party (associate member)
International affiliationInternational Democrat Union
Colours     Red,      Black,      Gold
Macedonian Parliament
40 / 120
5 / 81
Party flag
Flag of IMRO.svg

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 (Macedonian: ВМРО–ДПМНЕ), is one of the two major parties in the Republic of Macedonia, the other being the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM).

The party has proclaimed itself as Christian democratic, but it is considered nationalist.[22][23][24] 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."[25][26] Nevertheless, it has formed multiple coalition governments with ethnic minority parties.[27] Under the leadership of Ljubčo Georgievski in its beginning, the party supported Macedonian independence from Socialist Yugoslavia.[28] Under the leadership of Nikola Gruevski the party has promoted the controversial identity politics called antiquization. The party had pro-European and pro-NATO policy, but in the last years it has changed sides to pro-Russian, pro-Serbian and anti-Western policy.[29][30][31] It has opposed to the Friendship treaty signed with Bulgaria in 2017 and the Prespa agreement signed with Greece in 2018, despite both neighboring states being NATO and EU members.

VMRO-DPMNE is widely accused of nepotism and authoritarianism and is involved in a series of corruption and money-laundering scandals, with the Macedonian Special Prosecution ordering in 2017 a series of investigations against the party's former leader and ex-PM Nikola Gruevski, as well as ministers and other high-ranked officials, for involvement in illegal activities. In 2018, and amid ongoing investigations, a Court froze the party's property assets.[32]


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 1934 in its headquarters in Bulgaria, 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.[33]

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. Dragan Bogdanovski who was a proclaimed Macedonian rights movement activist had made a blueprint for a Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity. He had also made a statute, book of rules, and an instruction of how the party is going to work. Ljubco Georgievski together with Bogdanovski, Goran Zmejkovski and few others activists had agreed to make a party for independent Macedonia. 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.[34]

Rise to power[edit]

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 former 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.[35] After the Parliament constituted itself on the 21st of June, 2008, the President Branko Crvenkovski on the 23rd of June, 2008 gave the then VMRO–DPMNE's leader 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.[36]


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.[37] 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.[38][39] 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.[40] 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.[38][41] Ethnic Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia see it as an attempt to marginalize them and exclude them from the national narrative.[38] 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,[38] and is regarded to have a negative impact on the international position of the country.[42] Foreign diplomats have warned that the policy has reduced international sympathy for the Republic of Macedonia in the naming dispute with Greece.[38] 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.[43][44]

Additionally, VMRO-DPMNE has been criticized for its hard-line stance on the Prespa agreement that was reached in 2018 between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece in a bid of resolving the long-standing Macedonia Naming Dispute. On 16 October 2018, US Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell sent a letter to VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski, in which he expresses the disappointment of the United States with the positions of the party's leadership, including him personally, regarding its position against the Prespa agreement and asks to "set aside partisan interests" and work to get the name change approved.[45][46] Mickoski expressed his hope that the Republic of Macedonia will be very soon a part of the NATO and EU families, "but proud and dignified, not humiliated, disfigured and disgraced."[47]

Election results[edit]


Year Vote Vote % Seats Place Govt?
1990 154,101 14.3%
38 / 120
3rd No
238,367 29.9% 1st
1994 141,946 14.3%
0 / 120
2nd no
boycotted boycotted boycotted
1998 312,669 28.1%
11 / 120
1st yes
381,196 49% 1st
2002 298,404 25%
33 / 120
2nd no
2006 303,543 32.5%
45 / 120
1st yes
2008 481,501 48.48%
63 / 120
1st yes
2011 438,138 39.98%
56 / 123
1st yes
2014 481,615 42.98%
61 / 123
1st yes
2016 454,519 38,14%
51 / 120
1st no


Election Candidate First round Second round
Votes % Result Votes % Result
1994 Ljubčo Georgievski 197,109 21.6 2nd place
1999 Boris Trajkovski 219,098 21.1 2nd place 582,808 53.2 1st place
2004 Saško Kedev 309,132 34.1 2nd place 329,179 37.4 2nd place
2009 Gjorge Ivanov 345,850 35.04 1st place 453,616 63.14 1st place
2014 Gjorge Ivanov 449,442 51.69 1st place 534,910 55.28 1st place

Youth Force Union[edit]

Youth Force Union (Macedonian: Унија на млади сили на ВМРО-ДПМНЕ [ˈunija na ˈmladi ˈsili]), also known as UMS (Macedonian: УМС), is the youth wing organization of the VMRO-DPMNE. It considers itself a continuation of historical youth organizations which spread the ideals of VMRO for independent Macedonia.

A number of projects arising from the Youth Force Union were conducted in the past 20 years. Formed in 1991, the most remarkable and influential President of YFU was Filip Petrovski; he was its leader in period 1997-2000, and member of parliament 1998-2001.


  1. ^ Мицкоски се обрати кон своите сопартијци од ВМРО-ДПМНЕ: Еве што им порача
  2. ^ Berglund, Sten (2013). The Handbook of Political Change in Eastern Europe. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 621. ISBN 978-1782545880. The present incarnation of VMRO-DPMNE can be traced to the exit of founder Ljubco Georgievski in 2003
  3. ^ Židas Daskalovski (2006). Walking on the Edge: Consolidating Multiethnic Macedonia, 1989-2004. Globic. p. 46. ISBN 978-0977666232.
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External links[edit]