- Title: MACEDONIA: Newly elected Macedonian president is inaugurated
- Date: 13th May 2009
- Summary: MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT SEATED NEW MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT GJORGE IVANOV APPROACHING DESK
- Embargoed: 28th May 2009 13:00
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA76RORQVTU1LH5ERD3H098Z93L
- Story Text: The newly elected Macedonian president, Gjorge Ivanov takes his oath of office as the fourth democratically elected head of state in the country's 18-year history.
At a parliament ceremony on Tuesday (May 12), newly elected Macedonian President, Gjorge Ivanov took an oath of office as the fourth democratically elected head of state in the country's 18-year history.
The ceremony that kicked-off with the national anthem was followed by the taking of the oath and the new president's inaugural speech.
The presidents of Albania, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia attended the ceremony, but not Kosovo's President Fatmir Sejdiu. The issue sparked an uproar in neighbouring Kosovo, but the diplomatic row settled to a degree after Macedonian authorities said that Sejdiu would be the first foreign dignitary to meet Ivanov after he took office.
"My political agenda is clear and unequivocal - Macedonia as member of NATO and of the European Union. A strong Macedonia, respected and equal, with proud, prosperous and happy citizens," Ivanov said in his inauguration speech.
Ivanov won the March presidential election in the second round as candidate of the largest ruling party, the centre-right VMRO DPMNE. Ethnic Albanians, who make up roughly one quarter of the population practically boycotted the runoff as none of the front runners gained their backing.
Ivanov's main challenge will be the ongoing name dispute with neighbouring Greece over Macedonia's constitutional name which Athens believes represents territorial claims to the northern Greek province of the same name.
The inauguration faced an initial hurdle after the main Albanian parties hesitated over whether to attend the ceremony after finding out that Kosovo's president would not be there.
The ruling Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, and the opposition New Democracy, ND, announced their attendance at the last moment.
After declaring independence from former Yugoslavia, Kiro Gligorov was elected as the first head of state. He served two terms in office from 1991 to 1999.
His successor Boris Trajkovski took over in late 1999 but died tragically while still in office on February 2004, when his plane crashed over Bosnia. The third President of Macedonia was Branko Crvenkovski.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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