North Macedonia has made considerable democratic progress since achieving independence, as evidenced by its active and diverse civil society, legal system reforms and strengthened legislative branch. The International Foundation for Electoral Systems' (IFES) work in North Macedonia stems from over a decade of targeted electoral assistance in the Balkans and over two decades of technical specialization on electoral processes and access. In light of recent political developments in North Macedonia, the will for reforms and more transparent, democratic processes has positioned IFES for increased impact. In supporting North Macedonia’s ongoing democratic development, IFES delivers targeted assistance to both state bodies and nongovernmental stakeholders to improve electoral practice and citizens’ engagement with their government. To that end, IFES is currently implementing two long-term projects, supplemented by short-term interventions.
The first project is made possible with funding from the United States Agency for International Development and supports building a better environment for free and fair elections by assisting primarily the State Election Commission in the organization of electoral processes. The project supported election management and administration, particularly for the 2018 national referendum, 2019 presidential election and 2020 local and national elections. Another key element of IFES programming is assisting North Macedonia’s political finance oversight institution and civil society organizations in streamlining political finance regulation best practices and encouraging further reforms.
The second project, funded by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, mobilizes support to electoral reforms in North Macedonia, strengthens its institutions to conduct a free and fair electoral process and encourages political actors to be more accountable to citizens they represent. Additionally, this project, implemented alongside the National Youth Council of Macedonia, engages and empowers local communities from across the country to hold their elected representatives accountable.