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Macedonia: The genesis of the 1995 flag

Last modified: 2004-12-18 by
Keywords: law | sun: 16 rays | coat of arms | eagle: double-headed (yellow) | proposal |
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The agreement with Greece

Here is the relevant bit of the interim agreement between Greece and Macedonia in which Macedonia agrees to give up its flag:

Article 7, Paragraph 2.
Upon entry into force of this Interim Accord, the Party of the Second Part [Macedonia] shall cease to use in any way the symbol in all its forms displayed on its national flag prior to such entry into force.

Josh Fruhlinger, 17 September 1995

The parliamentary procedure

Two options for a new flag

Today's Nova Makedonija writes that the Republic of Macedonia will have a new national flag as soon as October 5, when the parlament session on the issue is to take place. The paper states two options for the flag, both having red color as a background and a golden-yellow symbol as a central figure. The first solution for the symbol would be a rising or setting half-sun, while the second will be a sun with rays going horizontally, vertically or diagonally across the flag.
The paper also says that parties included in Parliament are already discussing the possible look of the new flag.

Members of Parliament to suggest a new flag?

Sources close to the Macedonian Parliament presidency say that next Thursday or Friday, a procedure is to begin at Parliament to adopt a new flag. Along with the flag, the Parlament will discuss about the already forgotten law on a national coat of arms.
The dynamics of activities at the session has not yet been precisely determined, but the procedure will be designed so that it is completed before the 30-day deadline, defined in last week's agreement Macedonia signed with Greece in New York.
As days are numbered, the 16-sun-rays flag that represented Macedonia since August 1992 will be replaced in a short procedure. Meaning, the proposal to pass a new law on the flag, as a first stage, will be presented at the same time with the definite version of the suggested law, which is a third stage. In this way, the Parliament will skip over the usual practice to debate over a draft law. Thus shortened, the procedure will enable the Parliament to get the entire matter completed in a single day. Under the current procedural regulations, however, a parlament session cannot be scheduled before 15 days after the procedure has been started.
As far as the procedure goes, there are announcements that the Government will not be the one to come up with a suggested solution, but the proposal is to come from a group of parliamentarians. The intention is to have a group of members of parlament including elements from all the parlamentary groups. The suggestion will first of all be discussed by the Constitutional Commission and will then be proceeded to the Parliament. Another option is to have the parlament signatories proposing a solution determined by the Constitutional Commission.

The basis for deciding on the new flag, sources inform, will be the suggestions that were chosen during the open competition three years ago, when independent national symbols were designed for the first time. The following six ideas were then bought out: MAKO by Dimko Krstevski, Phoenix 92 by Kostadin Tancev, 5222 by Branko Kostovski, A-OPULSI 68 by Ilija Spasovski, Makedonija 992 by Aco Mitrevski and 08002 by Milivoj Gruevski.
Over 100 ideas entered the competition in 1992, with the red and golden-yellow colors as predominating features. The most frequently suggested symbol was the sun, drawn in all kinds of stylized shapes. Upon a proposal of the jury, the Constitutional Commission members voted by a majority of votes in favor of the suggested red flag with a many-rayed sun in the middle. It is these two elements that have led many spectators to believe the new flag will also have red color as a basic one and again a golden sun as a center symbol, only this time in quite a different shape than the current one. Some even point out to three suggestions as the most serious candidates.

The opening of the procedure for replacement of the national flag will also be used to decide on a national coat-of-arms. The previous parliament failed to provide the required 80 votes in favor to adopt this symbol. The matter then stopped at an argument between the Constitutional Commission and the VMRO-DPMNE parliamentarian group. The Commission's suggestion was to have a golden many-rayed sun in the middle (an application of it's suggestion for the flag), whereas the VMRO-DPMNE deputies insisted on a lion as a central figure! Neither suggestion was given the necessary two-thirds majority of votes and the issue was dropped and left for better times in the future.

It should be pointed out here, however, that the SDSM member of parlament Nikola Popovski did initiate a procedure on the coat-of-arms as early as last spring. His idea was to keep the old coat-of-arms but without the five-pointed star. Some say that his suggestion will be in the race along with the most successful ideas of the 1992 open competition. Unofficial sources even say that the new flag symbol will also appear on the national coat-of-arms.

New flag - golden sun on red base

As A1 TV informs, calling on its sources, the new symbol on the Macedonian flag most probably will be a sun with eight sunrays on a red base. Meantime, there are two possible variants for the flag, the difference being the length of the sunrays. Proposers of the new symbol are a group of delegates of the election coalition Alliance for Macedonia and their number may be over 80 parliamentarians.

Source: MIC reports, 20 September 1995 (searchable database), quoted by Andrej Brodnik, 21 September 1995

Other proposals

My bet is on the new flag being a gold lion rampant surmounted with a crown on a red field - this imagery was very much in evidence as a sort of prototype national emblem when I visited Macedonia in 1989.

Stuart Notholt, 15 September 1995

Proposal by the Flag Instituteby António Martins
Reconstructed image

Flagmaster # 080 (1995) [flm] has an article concerning the flag of Macedonia, and a design suggested by the Flag Institute. It appears to be horizontally divided, red over blue, surmounted overall by a gold or white spread-wing double-headed eagle and three sixpointed stars arrainged in the spaces between the wings and necks and between the two necks. The report also states that a group of parliamentarians will form a committe to look over entries submitted some three years ago.

Bruce Ward, 1 March 1996

The image is somewhat more ornamented than the heraldically simplified Albanian eagle. If I remember correctly, the flag described there was not blue, but black.

Željko Heimer, 20 February 1998

Proposal?by António Martins

In the book Flaggen und Wappen der Welt, by Karl-Heinz Hesmer [hes92], I found a quite unusual flag for Macedonia. I suppose that it was one of several proposals between the "Vergina Sun" flag and the current flag.
It is approximatively a 3:5 red and black unequally stripped flag with a red square canton covering the three upper stripes charged with a twenty pointed yellow device -- that could be a Vergina Sun also.

António Martins, 19 February 1999