2020 Macedonian coup d'état
|2020 Macedonian coup d'état|
|8th government of the Republic of North Macedonia||Military Council for the Salvation of the Republic|
|Commanders and leaders|
|2,000–5,000 protestors||c. 800 soldiers
Thousands of nationalist supporters
On 14 January 2020, a coup d'état was carried out by elements of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia (ARM) against the government of North Macedonia, headed by Prime Minister Bojan Andonovski. Army troops seized control of government buildings in Skopje by noon and placed Andonovski, President Vladimir Mitkov, and other ministers under house arrest. The Military Council for the Salvation of the Republic, headed by ARM Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Vladimir Stamboliski, announced it was replacing the civilian government as an interim administration, with Stamboliski as Prime Minister. Ivan Egorov of the right wing nationalist VMRO-DPMNE party was installed as the President of Macedonia. Martial law was declared and the 2018 Prespa agreement with Greece was declared void by the Military Council. The Andonovski government's dealings with Greece on solving the Macedonia name dispute and moving towards European Union membership were seen as one of the main motivations of the coup. It received a mostly positive reaction from the public, with the exception of the Social Democratic Union (SDSM) and ethnic Albanians.
No one was killed during the coup, although there were several injuries as SDSM-aligned protestors and Albanian nationalists skirmished with troops and riot police on the streets of Skopje. The situation calmed down, but large crowds gathered against the military coup as well as crowds of nationalist supporters. Public opinion was majority in favor, as the approval of the Andonovski government had been falling, but there was significant opposition. On 15 January, Prime Minister Stamboliski announced that the goal of the Military Council was to remove the "national-traitors" of the Social Democrats from office before they "destroyed the nation" by capitulating to Greece, the Albanians (by installing them into positions of power), and the "liberal European Union." He stated that the military government would be an "interim caretaker government" that would make the necessary "constitutional changes" before the next election, planned to be held in April 2020. At which point the Military Council for the Salvation of the Republic would dissolve itself and pass control to a civilian regime, presumably headed by the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE.
Andonovski and his cabinet agreed to resign and were released from house arrest on 16 January. They also took a pledge to not take part in any "anti-government activities." In the meantime, the new government's removing of Albanian as a co-official language on the national level and banning the Albanian flag caused Albanian militants affiliated with the National Liberation Army to take control of several towns in the northwestern region, where most of the country's Albanian minority lives. The government declared that it would restore order and eliminate the terrorists.
International reactions[edit | edit source]
- Greece – Greece strongly objected to the military coup, as well as the new government's decision to reverse the name of North Macedonia to Macedonia. It announced that it would withdraw its support for Macedonia's ascension into the European Union and call for a new embargo against the Macedonian government.
- Sierra – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement condemning the removal of the previous Macedonian government, describing it as "an illegal and outrageous act" that "completely disregards and degrades the democratic will of the people and rule of the law" in Macedonia. It has called upon the military regime to "respect the people" and restore the old government and has promised to provide sanctuary for the Macedonian government-in-exile.
- United Commonwealth – The Central Committee released a statement condemning the removal of a democratically elected government which upholds the dignity and rights of the working class. Continental Ambassador to Macedonia Pando Konecni opened the embassy to individuals seeking political refugee from the military government ensuring their safety from persecution. Konecini echoed the Central Committee's attitude to the situation, stating that the Social Democratic Union and its government is the legal ruling authority within the country and will refuse to recognize the Military Council for the Salvation of the Republic.
- Northeast Union – President Eliezer Steinberg condemns the military coup as an illegal act of aggression and accused Stamboliski and the military council of threatening Macedonian democracy. In a speech addressing the coup, he stated that he would not legally recognize the new government and only recognized the government and appointed diplomats of Bojan Andonovski and called on the international community to unite against the military regime.