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Political Research Exchange - PRX

Opposing Democracy, Opposing Gender+ Equality: The Case of the Macedonian Political Party VMRO–DPMNE

Europe (Central and Eastern)
Human Rights
Decision Making
Policy Change
Southern Europe
Ana Miškovska Kajevska
University of Amsterdam
Ana Miškovska Kajevska
University of Amsterdam

Since 2006, the political power in the Republic of Macedonia is predominantly held by the nationalist and right-wing Christian-democratic party VMRO–DPMNE. Its opposition to gender+ equality can be, inter alia, observed from the two attempts to constitutionally define marriage as a heterosexual union, and the introduction of a restrictive law on abortion and an antidiscrimination law (Macedonia’s first one) which did not explicitly recognise sexual orientation as a ground of discrimination. A statement of VMRO–DPMNE’s Minister of Health, uttered during the debates on the draft law on abortion, aptly summarises his party’s opposition to gender+ equality. Misusing the fact that some pro-choice NGOs also worked on LGBT issues, he said that it was not to be expected that he would agree on the abortion law with such organisations whose views on LGBT issues he did not share nor respect.

In this paper, I build upon my analyses of the LGBT movement in Macedonia and the imposition of a restrictive abortion law. By looking into the parliamentary meeting minutes and media statements, I focus on the discourse which the government and parliamentary officials from VMRO–DPMNE and its coalition partners used in their (unsuccessful) attempts to constitutionally define marriage and their (successful) attempt to remove “sexual orientation” from the antidiscrimination law. This discourse will be compared with that on the abortion law. The similarities and differences between these discourses will be explored, as well as the ways in which VMRO–DPMNE bypassed or infringed the regular procedures in the law-making process in order to push its agenda. An attempt will be made to conceptualise these instances of opposition to gender+ equality as indicators of the country’s dedemocratisation.
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