Ten years after the death of Tito, all six Yugoslav republics held multiparty elections in 1990. Elections in the Republic of Macedonia were held in November–December 1990. Nine parties won seats in the legislature, but no single party managed to secure a parliamentary majority. Out of 120 seats, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (IMRO-DPMNU) won 37 seats; the League of Communists of Macedonia-Party for Democratic Transformation (LCM-PDT, since renamed the Social Democratic Alliance) won 31 seats; the Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP) won 25 seats; the Alliance of Reform Forces for Macedonia (ARFM, since renamed the Liberal Party of Macedonia) won 17 seats; the Socialist Party won five seats; the Independent Party won three seats; and the remaining two seats were split between the IMRO-DPMNU and the Party for the Emancipation of the Roma. The new legislature passed a declaration of sovereignty in January 1991, but coalition talks after the elections on forming a new government were unsuccessful. In March 1991, the National Assembly approved a so-called Government of Experts of mostly unaffiliated ministers headed by Nikola Kljusev.
Unlike the northern Yugoslav republics of Slovenia and Croatia, Macedonia originally had no interest in breaking away from the Yugoslav federation. As tensions flared up between Serbia, Slovenia, and Croatia in June 1991, Macedonia at first favored a new "community of sovereign republics." Macedonia's position on independence shifted later that year. On 8 September 1991, Macedonia held a public referendum on independence, which resulted in a large majority (excluding most ethnic Albanians) in favor of independence. The National Assembly thereafter declared independence on 9 September and adopted a new constitution on 17 November 1991, establishing the republic as a sovereign, independent, democratic, and social state. In keeping with European Community conditions for recognition, amendments were added to the constitution in January 1992 that renounced any territorial claims or interference in the internal affairs of other states.