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SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC UNION OF MACEDONIA THROUGH THE YEARS

BACKGROUND

The Social Democratic Union of Macedonia was established as a political party on 21 April 1991 at the Eleventh SKM-PDP Congress. Based on the initiative of SKM-PDP CK Presidency, dated 14 February 1991 and following the proposal raised by the Central Committee, dated 23 February 1991, a decision was brought to change the name from SKM-PDP to SDSM.

Since then SDSM has profiled itself as a modern, democratic, social democratic party rooted in traditional left-wing ideas that have existed on this territory since the First Conference of Macedonian Socialists in Macedonia held on 3 (17) June 1900 in the village of Zitose, Krusevo, the activities of Vasil Glavinov’s political group that defined the basic socialist aspects of the Liberation War of Macedonia as the “Macedonians’ own matter” and the creation of the independent Macedonian Republic bestowing equal rights to all its citizens irrespective of their ethnic, religious, cultural and other distinctions.

Left-wing, social democratic ideas also originate from the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization which championed modern, progressive ideas for freedom and establishment of a state, independent and free of all foreign neighboring propagandas.  The most prominent left wing representatives in the Macedonian Revolutionary Movement were Goce Delcev and Nikola Karev.

Substantial progress in the establishment of socialist and social democratic organizations was achieved following the victory of the Young Turk Revolution (1908) and the establishment of branches in all larger cities. These ideas took important place among the Macedonian population, winning their support between the two World Wars as authentic representation of the Macedonian national movement against pro-Bulgarian Vrhovist groups, the propagandists of the Bulgarian Court and negators of the Macedonian nation led by Vanco Mihajlov and Todor Aleksandrov.

Left-wing, social democratic ideas were predominant after World War II through the work of the Communist Party of Macedonia resulting in the First Assembly of ASNOM on 2 August 1944 and the constitution of the Macedonian state. It was realization of century’s old endeavor for independence and freedom of Macedonian people.

It is precisely from these eternal ideas and traditions that SDSM draws its foundations as modern and nation-building party today, striving for establishment of a society based on equality, freedom, democracy, Euro Atlantic integrations, economic development and solidarity.

PARTICIPATION IN ELECTIONS

Since the declaration of independence, the Social Democratic Union has affirmed its nation-building character and image of a party that prefers national over party interests. Since the first parliamentary elections, SDSM has taken important position in the political life of the Republic of Macedonia. In the first parliamentary elections, the Social Democratic Union, then still under the name SKM-PDP, won 31 parliamentary seats, second in terms of parliamentary seats won. Nevertheless, it had enormous impact in all key moments for the Macedonian state, especially during the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia and the establishment of state institutions.

SDSM headed the first political Government of the Republic of Macedonia, presided by SDSM President Branko Crvenkovski as President of the Government. Crvenkovski’s first government played key role in the early years of independence when Macedonia was seriously challenged by embargos, sanctions and international isolation.

As a result of the Government effort, Macedonia was admitted in the Organization of the United Nations and was internationally acknowledged under its constitutional name by majority of states. Domestically, it was a period of reforms and introduction of free-market principles.

After the second parliamentary elections in 1994, SDSM, coaliscing with LP and SPM in the Union of Macedonia, won 85 parliamentary seats, 59 of which as political party. Consequently, SDSM won the mandate to form new Government – again led by the SDSM President Branko Crvenkovski as President of the Government.  In the presidential elections, held concurrently with the parliamentary elections, the candidate of Union of Macedonia Kiro Gligorov was elected in the first round of voting

At the 1996 Local Elections, SDSM won 54 mayoral seats, thus confirming itself as a party with prevalent support among citizens.

At the 1998 Parliamentary Elections, SDSM won 27 parliamentary seats and became the biggest opposition party in the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia. In the next four years, SDSM reiterated its nation-building capacity and in the key moments during the conflict joined the Government of National Unity. It signed the Ohrid Framework Agreement as of 11 August 2001, eventually becoming its most principled supporter.

At the 1999 presidential elections, SDSM candidate Tito Petkovski won the largest share of votes in the first round. In the second round, however, due to huge number of irregularities, unfairness and breach of election rules confirmed by all relevant international organizations, VMRO-DPMNE presidential candidate Boris Trajkovski was elected President of the Republic of Macedonia.

At the 2000 local elections, SDSM joined by other parties in the "Together for Macedonia” coalition won convincing victory by wining mayoral seats in all larger municipalities in spite of great number of irregularities. Those elections were forerunner of the great victory at the 2002 parliamentary elections.

The coalition led by SDSM, under the banner of “Together for Macedonia”, presented a joint list at the elections and won a total of 60 seats or 50% of the number of MPs, and thus the mandate to form the new Government. SDSM President Branko Crvenkovski was elected President of Government whose main duty was to stabilize the political, security and economic situation in the country and to revive the international credibility of the country.

In that mandate, while SDSM with its coalition partners was in the Government, Macedonia obtained candidate status for EU membership and was in front of the doors of NATO.

At the 2004 presidential elections, then SDSM President and President of Government Branko Crvenkovski was elected President of the Republic of Macedonia after securing more than 550,000 votes in a convincing victory against opponent Saso Kedev.  Hari Kostov was elected new President of Government and following the extraordinary Congress and election of Vlado Buckovski as President, the latter became new President of Government in the period from 2004 to 2006.

At the 2005 local elections, still withing the coalition “Together for Macedonia”, SDSM won 38 mayoral seats with most votes won on the mayoral and counselors’ lists in the state.

At the 2006 parliamentary elections, “Together for Macedonia” led by SDSM won 32 parliamentary seats, making the Party the biggest opposition party in the state.

At the 2008 extraordinary parliamentary elections, held for the first time since independence, the coalition led by SDSM won 27 parliamentary seats.

SDSM lost the 2009 local and presidential elections. Even though, by way of analysis of various parameters, the results obtanied indicated decrease in the gap between government and opposition parties and change of citizen will they were still not sufficient for winning the elections.

SDSM candidates for mayors won in Strumica (first round), Kumanovo (first round), Ohrid, Karpos, Vranestica (first round) and Novo Selo, Debarca (first round), while a candidate endorsed by SDSM also won in Makedonski Brod. Expressed in absolute numbers, SDSM won 307.014 votes compared to VMRO-DPMNE’s 431.303 votes on the mayors’ lists, and 213.772 votes or 328 consilors compared to VMRO-DPMNE’s 492 counsilors or 307.701 votes.

In the second round of the presidential elections SDSM candidate Ljubomir Frckovski, PhD won 264.828 votes compared to the 453.616 votes obtained by VMRO-DPMNE’s candidate Gorge Ivanov.

SDSM decided to participate in the elections independently. Bearing in mind that the number of votes obtained on our councilors’ lists is approximately the same as the number of votes obtained as coalition in 2008 elections, while the number of counselor seats won was greater number than those obtained at the 2005 local elections, it can be justly concluded that SDSM has valorized its own political brand and clearly accentuated its own political identity.

INTERPARTY STRUCTURE

Branko Crvenkovski was elected President of SDSM at the I Congress held on 20 April 1991. He presided with the party until he was elected President of the Republic of Macedonia in 2004. Between 1991 and 2004, he was reelected President of the Party three times.

Vlado Buckovski assumed this function at the II Congress in November 2004 and presided until the Extraordinary Congress held on 5 November 2006 when Radmila Sekerinska was elected President of SDSM. In addition to President, every four years SDSM elects its Secretary General, Central Board composed of 70 to 90 members and Supervisory Board of 9 members.

At its IX Congress held in Skopje on 24 May 2009, the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia reelected Branko Crvenkovski president of the Party.

SDSM is not in a need of minor changes but of intense reform in order to challenge the actual government led by VMRO-DPMNE, said the leader of SDSM prior to his election.

The Congress also reviewed the report on the local and presidential elections and confirmed the resignations of all members of Central and Supervisory Boards.

SDSM held its IX Congress in the spirit of redefined visual identity that put stop to ideological deviations from the past. Essential characteristic of SDSM’s redefined visual identity is the new stylized red rose surrounding the symbol of European social democracy – closed fist.

At theX Congress held in Ohrid on 07 June 2009 under the motto “Time has come”, 530 party delegates elected new members of the Central and Supervisory Boards.

SDSM’s new Central Board is made up of 90 members. Over 80 of them are new names in Macedonian politics approximately under 38 years of age. Most of them have higher education, five have PhDs, 13 M.Ss. and a number of them are candidates for a doctoral degree.

Immediately after the election of new members, SDSM Central Board held its constitutive session in which Andrej Petrov was elected Secretary of the Party, and Gordan Georgiev, Zoran Zaev and Zoran Jovanovski were elected Vice-Presidents. Additionally, 17 members of the Party Executive Board were also elected.

The Party established working bodies, committees geared toward improvement in the execution of its duties and policies. The committees are expert bodies composed of experts in particular fields. The Social Democratic Youth of Macedonia (SDMM) and the Women’s Club exist within the framework of SDSM.

The Social Democratic Youth of Macedonia is organizational structure of SDSM’s youth established on 9 November 1991 with own Statute and organizational structure. SDMM strives for active promotion of young people in the political processes of the country, stimulation, instigation and promotion of youth interests in the educational process, the employment sphere, as well as full inclusion of young people in the society. Additionally, it successfully advocated statutory representation of minimum 20% of young people in the SDSM bodies. SDMM is a member of a number of youth organizations.

SDSM Women’s Club is women organizational structure that has sub-branches in all SDSM municipal organizations and the City of Skopje. With its activity, the Women’s Club has substantially contributed to endorsement of the legal provision for equal representation of a minimum of 30% of both genders in electoral lists.

SDSM’s highest body is the Party Congress. SDSM adopts a Statute as the highest legal act of the Party and a Program Platform for activities between two regular congresses. SDSM has drafted its political program, thus becoming first political party in the country that adopted such document.

SDSM IN INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS

SDSM is a modern European social democratic party that is a carrier of all progressive social democratic ideas in Europe and the world. SDSM fosters excellent political-party relations with all social democratic and socialist parties in the region, in Europe as well as with a huge number of left-wing political parties around the world.

SDSM is a full member of the Socialist International – organization of socialist and social democratic parties worldwide and associate member of PES – Party of European Socialists. This certifies the important position of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia in the large European family.

SDSM TODAY

SDSM is improving.  After the defeat at the 2006 parliamentary elections SDSM is firmly committed to correct its failures. All well-intentioned criticism is taken into consideration and learning from its failures SDSM is being established as a modern party of honorable and responsible people that endeavor to come closer to the citizens on a day to day basis and acquire their confidence with constructive proposals. Guided by the Congress conclusions, in the period to come, SDSM will pay special attention to citizen interests, provide care for each of its members and resolutely work on meeting all social democratic ideals.


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