Macedonia commemorates president Boris Trajkovski

Today in 2004 Macedonia lost his president Boris Trajkovski in an airplane crash

Boris Trajkovski, as well as six members of the Macedonian delegation and two crew members who left for an international conference in Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina), died on February 26, 2004, after the state-owned aircraft crashed in a mountain region of Bosnia. The wreck burned out partially.

Trajkovski was born into a Methodist family. He graduated in 1980 with a degree in law from the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje. He subsequently specialized in commercial and employment law and made several visits to the United States, where he studied theology to become a Methodist lay minister.

His father, Kiro, who died in September 2008, was in prison for several years because of his political and religious beliefs. Also Boris, after studying law at the University of Skopje from 1975 to 1980, was banished to a remote village by the Yugoslav Communist government because of his active membership in the small Methodist Church in Macedonia.

There he took care of Kočani, an impoverished partly Romani congregation of the Evangelical Methodist Church of Macedonia, connected to the United States' United Methodist Church. Following political liberalisation in the 1980s, he went on to head the legal department of the Sloboda construction company in Skopje. 

He served as Methodist youth secretary in the former Yugoslavia for over 12 years. Later he was President of the Church Council of the Macedonian Evangelical Methodist Church. From 1988 he took part in the ongoing Youth Exchange programme between the Methodist Church of Macedonia and the Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead Methodist Circuit in England. In 1991, he studied English at a Christian Language College in Bournemouth, England.

Trajkovski became active in politics following the Republic of Macedonia's declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in November 1991, when he joined the VMRO-DPMNE party. He played an important role in developing the party's relations with other European political parties and was appointed Chairman of the party's Foreign Relations Commission. In 1997, he became the Chief of Staff of the Mayor of Kisela Voda, a municipality in Skopje. He was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs on 21 December 1998 but served in this post for less than a year.

Largely because of his reputation as a moderate reformist, Trajkovski was selected as VMRO-DPMNE's candidate for president in the November 1999 election held to replace the outgoing president, Kiro Gligorov. In the presidential election of 14 November 1999, Trajkovski defeated Tito Petkovski by 52% to 45%. He was scheduled to take office just five days later, on 19 November, but because the results were disputed, parliamentary chairman Savo Klimovski became acting president until Petkovski's supporters lost their last appeal a month later.