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  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The new Macedonian government marked its first hundred days in office in early March. Formed by the Macedonian Internal Revolutionary Organisation-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE), the Democratic Alternative (DA), and the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA) after the last parliamentary elections in October and November 1998, the government is headed by VMRO- DPMNE Chairman Ljubco Georgievski and has a comfortable majority of 73 out of 120 seats in the current parliament.
  • Topic: Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: With just over two years to run before the end of his term as Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic remains entrenched in power in Belgrade. The Yugoslav constitution currently prevents the President from running for re-election in 2001, but while Milosevic may leave the presidency he shows no sign of forfeiting control and is in the process of purging both the army and secret police of all opposition. He also retains some residual influence over such cultural institutions as the Orthodox Church. Individuals who oppose his views and who are potential political opponents are invariably intimidated, often through brute force. Political party rivals are both attacked in the state and pro-regime press and also courted with the prospect of sharing power. The latest to succumb to that temptation has been Vuk Draskovic's Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Government, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Electoral reform is on the agenda this year in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For too long the country has been ruled by leaders who draw support from only one of the three main ethnic groups. These leaders have been unable to co-operate on even the simplest matters, inhibiting the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) and forcing the international community to micromanage the country. Electoral reform offers one promising way to allow Bosnians to choose less confrontational leaders, and so start to accept responsibility for their own future.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Arbitral Tribunal on Brcko meets this month, and may or may not this time make its final decision, after postponements in 1997 and 1998. An award to either the Federation or Republika Srpska would provoke an extreme reaction: ICG advocates that a final decision should be made now, and that Brcko municipality should be reunited and made an autonomous district under the constitutional jurisdiction of the central government of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 01-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The recent parliamentary elections and the change of government in Macedonia in many respects are a landmark in the country's development. The smooth transition of power from one political camp to another and the fact that the "radicals" from both major ethnic groups rather than the more moderate parties form the new government are significant in themselves. If the new government manages to solve Macedonia's problems, it might also have repercussions throughout the region. This report, prepared by ICG's field analyst in Skopje, looks back and draws lessons from the elections and the formation of the new government, looks ahead at the key policy changes facing the new administration, and assesses the capacity of the ruling coalition to meet those challenges.
  • Topic: Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 01-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Premier Pandeli Majko's new coalition government is slowly consolidating its hold over the administration, though the overall power of the government remains weak after the country was rocked in September by the worst political violence since the uprising of March 1997. Within the cabinet the deputy premier Ilir Meta has emerged as the key power in most decision-making and policy implementation. The new government consists of representatives of the Socialist Party (PS), the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Union of Human Rights Party (PBDNj - this party represents the ethnic Greek minority), Democratic Alliance (AD), and the small Agrarian Party (AP). The largest opposition grouping the Democratic Party (DP), led by former president Sali Berisha, does not recognise the legitimacy of the Socialist-led government, is continuing its boycott of parliament and staging street rallies to push for early elections.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Albania
  • Publication Date: 09-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Sarajevo's Bosniac authorities were given the opportunity to demonstrate their much-vaunted commitment to multi-ethnicity when, on 3 February 1998, representatives of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia), the Federation of Bosnia Herzegovina (Federation), Sarajevo Canton and the international community adopted the Sarajevo Declaration. The Declaration stressed the importance of the Bosnian capital “as a model of coexistence and tolerance for the rest of the country” and made it clear that: “The international community will condition continuation of assistance for Sarajevo on fulfilment of the benchmarks set out in this Declaration and on adequate progress toward meeting the 1998 goal of at least 20,000 minority returns.”
  • Topic: Demographics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 12-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In the past few weeks the Belgrade authorities have sacked a number of key public officials. The two most prominent were security chief Stanisic and head of the army general staff Perisic. The firings triggered much speculation in the international media about the stability of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's regime. According to one interpretation, the sackings signal a fundamental weakness in government ranks, with Milosevic moving pre-emptively to oust potential rivals to his authority. Alternatively, the sackings may represent an attempt by the Yugoslav President to further consolidate his power base and to effectively rule with the backing of Yugoslavia's military and security establishments. Both Stanisic and Perisic were seen as Milosevic's opponents on several key policies, notably Belgrade's handling of relations with the Kosovo Albanians. Both Perisic and Stanisic, reportedly moderates not favouring the use of severe force against the Kosovars, have been replaced by Milosevic "yes-men" regarded as proponents of a violent resolution of the Kosovo question. If this is even in part the case, Stanisic's and Perisic's sackings do not necessary reflect a weakness in Milosevic's rule. Instead, the sackings may only signal Milosevic's resolve to return to force as a means of regional problem solving.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Macedonians go to the polls on 18 October 1998 in the first of two rounds of voting to elect 120 members of the country's parliament. The forthcoming poll is Macedonia's third general election since the disintegration of one-party communist rule. Moreover, it takes place in the shadow of ethnic violence between Serbs and ethnic Albanians in the neighbouring Serbian province of Kosovo and political instability in neighbouring Albania. Although Macedonia has managed to avoid the violent conflict which has afflicted the rest of the former Yugoslavia, its experience of democracy has so far been mixed. Politics is divided along ethnic lines and the last multi-party elections in 1994 were marred by accusations of fraud with two major parties boycotting the second round of voting.
  • Topic: Demographics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 09-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The stakes in Bosnia's forthcoming elections, the fifth internationally-supervised poll since the end of the war, could not be higher, for Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia) and also for the international community. Having invested enormous financial and political capital in the peace process, the international community expects a return on its investment. That is why leading international figures including US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright have entered the Bosnian political fray, urging Bosnians to back parties which "support Dayton" and threatening to withdraw aid if they do not. The elections will bring some changes so the event will be hailed as a triumph. However, they will not lay the ground for a self-sustaining peace process. That can only be achieved by political reform and, in particular, a redesign of the electoral system to guarantee Bosnians ethnic security.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe