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Macedonian government agrees to postpone controversial census

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev announced he is ready to postpone the national census for one or two months. His announcement came after President Stevo Pendarovski suggested the census could be delayed until May or June.

The government coalition and opposition parties have been engaged in a wrangling match about the population census following accusations and fears about a fraudulent census, in which ethnic quotas have been previously agreed upon in back door deals.

Further suspicion was raised after a minister of DUI announced his party is not going to accept the census results if the share of the Albanian population in the country falls below 20%. The president of a minor opposition party, Integra, underscored that the government had procured Bulgarian software to run the census – a country with open hostilities towards Macedonia.

With growing calls to boycott the census due to the lack in confidence of the government to run a fair and transparent operation, the head of the statistics office threatened fines or jail for people boycotting.

Now with the census delayed and an ongoing Covid crises it remains to be seen if the government can raise confidence to run the census at all.

Germany and several other EU countries have already postponed their national census due to the Covid pandemic.

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