North Macedonia

North Macedonia

North Macedonia has a multi-party parliamentary system. The country is divided into 123 municipalities. The municipalities are units of self-government and are autonomous to a certain extent. The legal system is based on civil law system.


The Republic of North Macedonia became independent in 1991 following the breakup of Yugoslavia. A national unity government was formed in May 2001, by all major parties in Parliament, in response to an ethnic-Albanian insurgency that began in February 2001. A Framework Agreement was signed on 13 August 2001 by the ruling ethnic-Macedonian and ethnic-Albanian party leaders. The Framework Agreement laid the foundation for preservation of a peaceful, unitary, multiethnic state with improved civil rights for minority groups. The Agreement required implementation of constitutional and legislative changes. The Framework Agreement was ratified by Parliament in a series of three sets of votes. On 16 November 2001, in the final vote, the Parliament (Sobranie) amended the Constitution for better protection of the civil rights.

The State powers are divided into legislative, executive and judicial power. These powers are exercised by the Parliament, the President of the Republic, the government and by the courts.

The Republic of North Macedonia has a unicameral parliamentary system. The Sobranie holds the legislative power and is the representative body of the citizens. The powers and the organisation of the Sobranie are regulated by the constitution and by the rules of procedure of the Sobranie. The members of the Sobranie are directly elected for a four-year term. It is permanently in session. According to the Constitution, the Sobranie may have between 120 and 140 members. The current law on elections fixes the number of members at 120, 85 members are elected by popular vote, 35 members from lists of candidates submitted by parties based on the percentage that parties gain from the overall vote.

The Sobranie adopts legal acts, such as the Constitution, laws and the national budget. Every deputy has the right to propose a bill. This right is also given to the government and to groups of at least 10, 000 voters.

The Sobranie may take decisions if a session is attended by at least half of the deputies. The Sobranie takes decisions by a majority vote of the deputies in attendance, but no less than one-third of the total number of deputies, unless the Constitution requires a qualified majority.

The Sobranie elects the government of the Republic, by a majority vote of the total number of deputies, on the proposal of a mandator nominated by the President of the Republic. The Sobranie supervises the government and other public office- holders responsible to the Sobranie.

The Sobranie appoints the judges of the Constitutional court, the members of the judicial council, judges of the ordinary courts and the ombudsman.

The executive power is shared by the President and the government. The President of the Republic is the head of state. The President of the Republic is elected in general and direct elections, by secret ballot, for a five-year term. He/she nominates the mandator to constitute the government. He/she appoints the Prime Minister who is the head of government.

The President concludes international agreements and may initiate changes to the Constitution. The President promulgates laws, but has a suspensive veto (see below). He/she proposes to the Sobranie two of the judges of the Constitutional court, two members of the judicial council of the republic and members of the council for inter-ethnic relations.

The government is composed of the Prime Minister and ministers. The government is elected by the Sobranie upon the proposal of the mandator. The government proposes laws, the budget and other general acts to the Sobranie and adopts decrees and other legal instruments.

The right of citizens to local self-government is guaranteed by the Constitution. The municipalities are autonomous. Local authorities decide on issues of local relevance, particularly in the fields of basic health care, child care, communal activities, culture, pre-school education, primary education, sport, social security, urban planning.

The Legislative Process

Every deputy of the Sobranie, the government and a group of at least 10,000 citizens have the right to submit a bill for adoption by the Sobranie. To become a law, a bill must be passed by the Sobranie and signed by the President.

The bill is submitted to the President of the Sobranie who sends the proposal to the working bodies (commissions) of the Sobranie. If the proposal is submitted by an authorised body other than the government (i.e. a member of Sobranie or a group of citizens), the President of the Sobranie must send it to the government for an opinion.

In general, laws are adopted with a majority of the votes cast, provided it is at least a third of the total number of the members of Sobranie. However, changes to the Constitution need to be adopted by a two-thirds majority.

Laws enter into force by promulgation. The President and the President of the Sobranie sign the promulgation declaring a law.

The President of the Republic may decide not to sign the promulgation declaring a law and ask for the Sobranie to reconsider the draft law, unless the law in question has been adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of the total number of members of theSobranie. The Sobranie can override the veto with a majority vote of the total number of members of Sobranie.

The President, the government, at least 30 members of Parliament or 150 000 citizens may propose changes to the Constitution. The decision to initiate a change in the Constitution is made by the Sobranie by a two-thirds majority vote of the total number of deputies. The draft amendment of the Constitution is submitted to public debate after being confirmed by the Sobranie. The final decision to make the change of the Constitution is made by the Sobranie with a two-thirds majority vote of the total number of deputies.

The Judicial System

The courts exercise the judicial power in North Macedonia. 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 Sobranie elects the judges of the Constitutional court. Courts judge on the basis of the Constitution and laws and international agreements ratified in accordance with the Constitution.

Judges are granted immunity by the Constitution. A judge is not allowed to hold other public offices, professions or to be member of a political party.

The Constitutional court decides on conflicts of competence between central bodies and units of local self-government and between the legislative, executive and judicial branch.

Additionally, the Constitutional court decides on the conformity of laws with the Constitution and on the conformity of collective agreements and other regulations with the Constitution and laws. Its decisions are final and binding. The Constitution court is composed of nine judges with a term in office of nine years, without right to be reappointed.


North Macedonia is:

  • OSCE Participating State since 12 October 1995
  • Member State of the United Nations since 8 April 1993
  • Member State of the Council of Europe since 9 November 1995
  • Candidate Country for Membership in the European Union since 16 December 2005

Status of Ratification of the Main International Human Rights Treaties, Conventions and other instruments

13 April 2007
UN Convention against Corruption (2003)
19 March 2007
International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2007)
01 July 2006
Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (1985)

Legal Reviews

Opinion on the Draft Law on Gender Equality (in English)

Date : 01 July 2021 English [0.88 MB]

Opinion on the Draft Law on Gender Equality (in Macedonian)

Date : 01 July 2021 English [0.94 MB]

Annexes to Comments on the Law of North Macedonia on the Assembly and the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly From a Gender and Diversity Perspective (in English)

Date : 09 November 2020 English [0.47 MB]

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Assessments of legislative processes

Law Drafting and Regulatory Management in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: An Assessment (Revised version)

Date : 01 December 2008 English [0.23 MB]