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Macedonians Tilt Against Skopje Makeover, Poll

October 23, 2012

More than half of Macedonian now feel negative about the grand revamp of the capital known as Skopje 2014, a new opinion poll shows.

By Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight, 18.10.2012
Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Asked to describe their feelings about the project, 42.7 per cent of respondents to the poll carried out by the TNS Brima Gallup Intl agency said they felt “very negative” about the changes while 15.1 per cent said they felt “somewhat negative”.

Only 10.9 per cent answered that they felt “very positive” while 15.5 per cent felt “somewhat positive” about Skopje 2014.

Another 15.8 per cent of respondents said they were indifferent.

The poll also shows that the country’s ethnic Slavic majority, although mostly against the project, liked the project more than country’s large ethnic Albanian minority, who overwhelmingly opposed it.

Cumulatively, 48.1 per cent of polled ethnic Slavs had a negative opinion about Skopje 2014 while 33.7 had a positive opinion.

On the other hand, 88.6 per cent of polled ethnic Albanians rejected the revamp while only a tiny 3.3 per cent approved it.

Designed to refurbish the shabby-looking city and drawing inspiration from the architectural styles of Classical Hellenistic Antiquity, the Skopje 2014 project has seen the erection of some 30 bronze and marble statues so far, with more on the way.

Erected mostly in the city’s central area, some of the most notable edifices include two nearly 30-metre-high statues of Alexander the Great, Greek King , and his father, Philip, a 30-metre-high triumphal arch, a massive colonnade with lions and another colonnade with an obelisk in the middle.

The project also envisages the construction of some 20 other buildings, including, museums, theatres, concert halls, hotels and administrative offices whose construction in most cases is finished or underway.

Comparing the results to a similar poll in 2010, conducted by the Rating agency and commissioned by the Dnevnik daily newspaper, support for the project seems to have dropped, while the number of opponents has remained more or less the same.

In the 2010 poll, 39 per cent said they had a positive view of the project and 3 per cent were indifferent. In the latest poll, the number of supporters dropped to 26.4 per cent while 15.8 said they were indifferent.

In both surveys, some 58 percent of the people in total said they did not like the revamp.

The latest field research was carried out between August 30 and September 4 on a representative sample of 1,165 respondents, Brima Gallup agency explained.

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