Religions: Eastern Orthodox 67%, Muslim 30%, other 3%
Location: Southeastern Europe, landlocked between Serbia, Kosovo, Albania, Greece and Bulgaria.
Geographic coordinates: 41 50 N, 22 00 E
total: 25,713 sq km
land: 25,433 sq km
water: 280 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than Vermont
total: 748 km
border countries: Serbia 62 km, Kosovo 159km, Albania 151 km, Bulgaria 148 km, and Greece 246 km.
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: warm, dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall
Terrain: mountainous territory covered with deep basins and valleys; three
large lakes, each divided by a frontier line; country bisected by the Vardar River
lowest point: Vardar River 50 m
highest point: Golem Korab (Maja e Korabit) 2,753 m
Natural resources: chromium, lead, zinc, manganese, tungsten, nickel,
low-grade iron ore, asbestos, sulfur, timber, arable land
Macedonia is a parliamentary democracy. Power is divided between the
legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The constitution is the supreme
law of the country.
The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The
president appoints the prime minister. The cabinet or council of ministers is
elected by majority vote in the Sobranje.
The president is the head of state, he represents the Republic, he is
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Macedonia and chairs the national
Security Council. The president is elected by majority vote in general and
direct elections, by secret ballot, for a term of five years, and no person may
serve more than two terms as president. Some of the president's functions
include: granting the mandate for the formation of the government; decreeing the
appointment or dismissal of ambassadors and other diplomatic representatives
abroad; proposing judges to sit on the Constitutional Court and the Republican
Judicial Council; appointing members of the Security Council, etc.
The executive power is vested into the government, composed of the prime
minister and ministers. The president appoints the prime minister, subject to
approval by the assembly. The government is elected by a majority vote of all
the deputies in the assembly. It handles day-to-day government operations and is
accountable to the assembly. The government submits bills to the assembly and
decides on policies for the implementation of laws and regulations passed by the
legislature. It is also empowered to adopt bylaws as well as other regulatory
acts pertaining to the application of laws. It appoints and dismisses holders of
public and other office determined by the Constitution and laws. The state
administration consists of ministers and other administrative bodies and
organisations as determined by law.
The legislative power is vested into the unicameral Assembly, or Sobranie, which has 120 members. Members are elected by popular vote from party lists based on the percentage of the overall vote the parties gain in each of six electoral districts; members serve four-year terms.
The last legislative elections were held on 1 June and 15 June 2008. The Assembly sits in Skopje and it is in its power to amend the constitution and pass laws and resolutions, ratify international agreements, etc.
The judiciary is based on a civil law system in which it conducts judicial review of legislative acts. Courts exercise judiciary power. According to the Law on Courts of 1995, there are 27 courts of the first instance, three courts of appeal, and a supreme court. The courts are autonomous and independent. The Supreme Court of the Republic of Macedonia is the highest court in the republic, providing uniformity in the implementation of the laws by the courts. Courts judge on the basis of the constitution and laws and international agreements ratified in accordance with the constitution. The types of courts, their spheres of competence, their establishment, abrogation, organisation and composition, as well as the procedure they follow are regulated by a law adopted by a majority vote of two-thirds of the total number of representatives. Judges are granted immunity. The Sobranie decides on the immunity of judges. The performance of a judge's office is incompatible with other public offices, professions or membership of a political party. Political organisation and activity in the judiciary is prohibited. There is also a constitutional court whose judges are elected by the Sobranie.