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Macedonia is a sovereign republic with multi-party parliamentary democracy. Authority in Macedonia is based on the principle of a strict division of functions and responsibilities amongst the holders of legislative, executive, and judicial powers.
The President of the Republic of Macedonia represents the Republic, and acts as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The President is elected in general and direct elections, with a mandate of five years, and a maximum of two terms.
The Parliament (Sobranie), the legislative body, is the central and most important institution of state authority. The unicameral assembly is composed of 120 Members of Parliament with four-year mandates. Members are elected by popular vote from party lists, based on the percentage parties gain of the overall vote in each of six election districts, 20 seats each.
Executive authority rests with the Government, which is headed by the Prime Minister. The cabinet ministers are appointed by the Prime Minister Designate and approved by a majority vote in the National Assembly.
The Macedonian legal system is based on civil law. The judiciary is comprised of basic and appellate courts, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, and the Republican Judicial Council. Parliament appoints judges to serve on each of these courts.
Membership to the European Union is of the highest strategic interest and priority for the Government, an objective shared by an overwhelming majority of Macedonia’s citizens and all political parties. Macedonia was the first country in South East Europe to sign a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union in 2001 in Luxemburg. Recognizing the progress that Macedonia has made in meeting the Copenhagen criteria, the European Commission recommended granting Macedonia candidate country status for membership in the EU. On December 17th, 2005, the European Council decided to grant the Republic of Macedonia official candidate status for EU membership.
The Republic of Macedonia is an aspiring member country of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In the closing declaration from the NATO summit in Riga in 2006, Macedonia was included in the NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP). The organization has recognized the increasing contribution of Macedonia to international peacekeeping and security operations, as well as its efforts to improve regional cooperation.