[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 28 February, 2004, 07:46 GMT
Obituary: Boris Trajkovski
Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski
Mr Trajkovski became Macedonian president in 1999
Boris Trajkovski was only 43 when he was elected President of Macedonia in November 1999.

He is seen as a new-generation leader with a Western outlook and an ability to build contacts with foreign diplomats and politicians.

Western governments see him as the man best able to ensure stability in Macedonia.

Mr Trajkovski, who died in a plane crash in Bosnia-Hercegovina on 26 February 2004, was born in Strumica, Macedonia, on 25 June 1956.

He spoke English and had a law degree from St Cyril and Methodius University, in Skopje.

Mr Trajkovski, a Methodist, also studied theology in the US, where he gave up communism.

He specialised in commercial and employment law, and went on to head the legal department of a construction company.

In 1997, Mr Trajkovski became chief-of-office in a Skopje local government administration, and in January 1999 he was appointed Macedonia's deputy minister of foreign affairs.

Peaceful solution

During the Kosovo crisis later that year, he accused Nato of paying too little attention to the ethnic tensions brewing in Macedonia, and the influx of 300,000 ethnic Albanian refugees.

A KLA ethnic Albanian rebel fighter
Trajkovski played a key role in restoring peace
In presidential elections that year, he won in the second round, thanks to a last-minute swing of support from ethnic Albanians - who make up between a quarter and a third of Macedonia's population of two million.

There had to be a partial re-run two weeks later in the predominantly ethnic Albanian region of western Macedonia after complaints of alleged irregularities, but Mr Trajkovski's victory was confirmed.

In the aftermath of the war in Kosovo, as the world feared that the conflict could spread to Macedonia, Mr Trajkovski insisted that only a peaceful solution based on a multi-ethnic democratic state could work.

His more tolerant, inclusive approach played an important part in negotiating an end to the six-month-long conflict between ethnic Albanian fighters and Macedonian security forces in 2001.

Mr Trajkovski helped push through an EU-brokered peace deal that August, under which Albanian fighters handed over their weapons to Nato in exchange for greater constitutional rights.

Despite criticism from nationalists within Mr Trajkovski's own party, the relevant changes to the constitution were ratified by parliament and new laws were introduced, paving the way for general elections.

EU pledge

Mr Trajkovski pledged to lead the country towards membership of the EU and Nato which, he believed, offer the best hope of lasting stability.

Only days before his death he signed Macedonia's formal application to join the EU, which was due to be submitted to the EU's Irish presidency in Dublin on Thursday.

Macedonia leader dead in crash
26 Feb 04  |  Europe
Timeline: Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
26 Feb 04  |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific