Kiro Gligorov passed away on 1st January 2012. The 94-year-old former President was at the helm of the Macedonian nation from 1991 until 1999 and oversaw the transition to independence from Yugoslav rule. The first democratically elected leader of Macedonia, Gligorov served for two terms and even survived a 1995 assassination attempt which killed his driver and left him blind in one eye.
The Macedonian government held a special session to declare Tuesday 3rd January 2012 as an official day of mourning following news of Mr Gligorov’s death. The Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, Nikola Gruevski, expressed his sympathies to the family of Mr Gligorov and hailed the former President:
“A man of great merit, who contributed to the liberation, creation, development and establishment of Macedonia. His works will remain ingrained in Macedonian history, the collective memory of our nation and the citizens of Macedonia.”
Likewise, senior European politicians paid their respects to the memory of the proponent of national self-determination. Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, and Štefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy expressed their sympathies to the family of Mr Gligorov and recounted the achievements of the veteran politician, saying in a statement:
“As president from 1991 until 1999, Mr Gligorov guided his country through critical transitions, including the peacefully achieved independence from the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. Taking the country forward on that new path, he made important decisions to the benefit of his people based on his long experience and knowledge of his country. May he rest in peace.”
A private family funeral will be held for the former President, according to his wishes.