President of the Republic of Macedonia (1999-2004)
June 25, 1956 – February 26, 2004
President Boris Trajkovski was inaugurated as the second President of the Republic of Macedonia on December 15, 1999. President Trajkovski succeeded Kiro Gligorov as President of the Republic of Macedonia which declared its independence on September 8, 1991.
President Trajkovski brought to the office of the President a wide variety of skills, talents, understanding and experience. He served both in the private sector and the public sector and understood how the business community, citizens and the government must cooperate for the benefit of the country. President Trajkovski was committed to democratic ideals, the free-market economy, an open society and the rule of law, values reflected in his campaign and in his governing. He was a passionate defender of Macedonia’s interests and argued eloquently for Macedonia’s inclusion into the European Union and NATO, as well as other Euro-Atlantic structures.
Constitutionally, President Trajkovski had a number of duties including commander-in-chief of the armed forces, head of state, certain veto powers and the ability to appoint and accept ambassadors and other officials. President Trajkovski was judicial in his duties since taking office and regularly consulted with the government and others on these matters.
During his time in office, President Trajkovski was an activist president, traveling to more than 20 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Serbia and Montenegro, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States. He gave numerous speeches at such forums as the World Economic Summit in Davos, the Council of Europe, the United Nations and the South East European Cooperation Process as well as to parliaments in several countries. He had one-on-one meetings with heads of government and heads of state and was a leader in the South East European region, urging greater cooperation and reconciliation. He was instrumental in creating the Adriatic Charter, bringing together Macedonia, Croatia and Albania to collectively lobby for NATO membership.
At home, President Trajkovski was active in reaching out to the people of Macedonia by traveling throughout the country, listening to and talking with citizens, elected officials, businessmen, educators and clergy. President Trajkovski maintained excellent relations with all members of government as well as ambassadors and representatives of foreign countries and organizations based in Macedonia.
Prior to his election, he served as deputy minister of foreign relations, a post held since December 21, 1998. As Deputy Minister, he was responsible for reaching out to the international community on behalf of Macedonia. When the Kosovo crisis erupted in March 1999, Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski appointed him as the government’s liaison between the international community and the Republic of Macedonia. It was during this time that he rose to prominence, arguing for international assistance for the Republic of Macedonia to handle the influx of refugees while showing the international community that the citizens of Macedonia were able and willing to accept their neighbors with open arms. As Deputy Minister, President Trajkovski took an active role in speaking with the media, foreign delegations, NATO and others on behalf of Macedonia.
Prior to his appointment as Deputy Minister, he voluntarily served as president of the commission for foreign affairs for VMRO-DPMNE, the largest opposition party in the country. In 1997 and 1998, he was employed as the chief of cabinet to the mayor of Kisela Voda, a suburb of Skopje and until 1997, Trajkovski served as the head of the legal department for a local construction company, Sloboda.
President Trajkovski’s father, Kiril, was jailed for his ideological and religious beliefs in June of 1946 just after World War II ended where he fought on the side of the Partisans. He was initially jailed for a two-year term but received amnesty in July of 1947. However, for an additional two years after his release, he was denied his civil and political rights. Ironically, during his prison term at the prison on Kale in Skopje, he was forced into hard labor, working on the presidential villa which would one day become the home of his son, Boris.
President Trajkovski received his B. S. in Law from the Law School at the University of St. Cyril and Methodius in 1980 where he specialized in commercial and employment law. He is a native of Strumica, Macedonia in southern Macedonia and has family still there. President Trajkovski is the first Methodist president in an Orthodox/Muslim country and actively serves as a lay preacher for the Methodist Church in Macedonia. In years past, he has represented Macedonia at various Methodist functions around the world. He is married to Vilma Trajkovska and has one son, Stefan, and one daughter, Sara. He was born on June 25, 1956, making him one of the youngest leaders in the region when he was inaugurated. He was an active tennis player and enjoyed the outdoors.
Boris Trajkovski was killed in a tragic plane accident on February 26th, 2004, along with eight others, near Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was 47.