Academic journal article European Quarterly of Political Attitudes and Mentalities

Indicators of Democratic Awareness in the Republic of Macedonia1

Academic journal article European Quarterly of Political Attitudes and Mentalities

Indicators of Democratic Awareness in the Republic of Macedonia1

Article excerpt

Abstract

The Republic of Macedonia, as a relatively young democratic country, gained its independence in the year 1991 following the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In this sense, the Macedonian society is regarded as a society in democratic transition. Therefore, the discussions concerning the relevance and significance of democracy, as a precondition for the global development of the society, represent an integral part of the current political and academic debates in the Republic of Macedonia. This paper examines the democratic awareness of Macedonian citizens, i.e. their habits, viewpoints and behavior as well as the extent of correspondence with the fundamental principles of democratic postulate. Additionally, the paper gives an insight into the perception of the Macedonian citizens regarding the level of the democracy within the Macedonian society, as well as the perception of their own democratization and willingness to cope with the issues in a manner which is in line with the democratic standards and principles.

Keywords: consolidated democracy, democratic awareness, democratization

1.Introduction

Democracy in political theory is described as a political philosophy, but also as a form of governing where the governing power lies in the hands of people, and it may be exercised either in an immediate (direct democracy) or intermediate manner (indirect democracy), i.e. according to the principle of presentation and representation of interests realized by virtue of free and fair elections. Knowing that there is no an universally accepted definition of democracy, we can elaborate certain categories, namely, transparency, accountability and right to participation.

Modern or contemporary interpretation of democracy is connected with the philosophical principle of equal rights. Hence, the notion of democracy is occasionally used in the context of liberal democracy, which on the other hand implies existence of certain additional elements, such as political pluralism, equality before the law, civil freedoms and civil rights, i.e. all those agents in a civil society. Furthermore, these elements represent a parameter regarding the level of democracy within societies. Democracy, as a form of governing, is one of the most pressing issues in more recent history, particularly following the fall of the Berlin Wall and totalitarian regimes.

The Republic of Macedonia, as a relatively young democratic country, gained its independence in the so-called 'third wave of democracy', i.e. in the year 1991 following the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In view of its constitutional system, the Republic of Macedonia is defined as a parliamentary democracy. The Macedonian society is regarded as a society in democratic transition. Therefore, any discussions pertaining to the relevance and significance of democracy represent an integral part of the current political and academic debates in the Republic of Macedonia.

This paper gives an insight into the habits, viewpoints and behavior of Macedonian citizens, and the extent of correspondence and harmonization with the fundamental principles of democratic postulates. Additionally, the paper elaborates on the perception of the Macedonian citizens regarding the level of democratization of the Macedonian society, as well as the perception whether and to what extent they experience themselves as democratically oriented.

In this paper, we will argue that in the Republic of Macedonia there is a big discrepancy between citizens' perception of their own democratizations on one hand and their willingness to cope with the issues in their day-to-day life in a manner consistent with the democratic principles on the other hand. Also, we will argue that ethnic belonging of the respondents has an impact on the final results regarding the citizens' assessment of the level of democracy within the society.

Having in mind that the paper focuses on the indicators of the democratic awareness of the citizens in the Republic of Macedonia, the notions of democratic transition and consolidated democracy are to be further defined and elaborated on. …

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