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FYR of Macedonia/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.6 Other relevant issues

One very interesting issue is the establishment of cultural links with the Diaspora. It is well known that the Macedonian Diaspora is spread all over the world, but mostly in the far distant continents such as Australia, Canada and the USA. Therefore, the activities and organisational provisions for Diaspora communities has always been a priority for the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the summer of 2006, for example, the National Theatre from Prilep carried out a one-month tour in Australia, giving performances in the cities where most of the Macedonian Diaspora lives. However, bearing in mind the distances and the costs involved for such activities, the provisions are very limited.

For years there has been a constant debate in the Macedonian Parliament and in the media about the possibilities of changing the Constitution and giving the Diaspora the right to vote, which is still unresolved. Especially, in 2007, there was a constant public and Parliamentary debate over the government's official proposal to change the Law on Electing Representatives in the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia and give the Diaspora the right to vote, which was opposed by the opposition parties. Still, in 2009 the Parliament passed the changes in this Law, giving the Diaspora the right to vote. In the 2011 Parliamentary elections, the Diaspora elected 3 members of the Parliament for the first time.

In 2015 the opposition coalition again raised the issue of voting rights for the Macedonian Diaspora. The main argument is the big difference between the number of votes for the Diaspora and the other members of the Parliament. Namely, the Diaspora candidates are elected with only several hundred votes instead of the usual 4-5 000 for other candidates. The negotiation on this issue is in progress for the early 2016 elections.  

Chapter published: 06-10-2015

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