Albanian issues at the focus of the electoral campaign

Albanian issues at the focus of the electoral campaign

IBNA Special Report/ BDI officials, former ally of the main majority party and PDSH, the biggest Albanian party of the opposition, talk to IBNA about the electoral program. Numerous demands for more rights and decision making opportunities for Albanians, efforts for de ethnicization and calls to have a full implementation of the Ohrid Agreement. Macedonian analysts say that the requests set out by Albanian parties, especially PDSH platform aim to federalize the country

Skopje, April 11, 2014/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

In the electoral campaign for the early parliamentary elections, Albanian political parties have once again set out their demands for the advancement of the status of Albanians. They are also demonstrating the discontent that relates to the failure of fulfilling the obligations emanating from the 2001 Ohrid Agreement. This agreement put an end to the armed cross ethnic conflict in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The two biggest Albanian parties, Democratic Union for Integration (BDI) and Albanian Democratic Party (PDSH) are holding a campaign with demands consisting on the advancement of the status of Albanians. Thus, they’re demanding for  a wider use of the Albanian language in the institutions of the country and not only in the municipalities and communes where Albanians consist of more than 20% of the population.

On the other hand, PDSH has more ethnic demands for the advancement of the Albanian cause.

In its program “2014 Contract”, this party has set out 12 demands for the advancement of the Albanian cause such as: full equality and fair representation of Albanians in the system, the exploitation of the system benefits and more decision making.

According to the program, these rights will be monitored by applying the principle of full consensus. This also includes the proportional division of the budget and: a wider use of the Albanian language; fair institutional representation of Albanians; an Agreement according to which Albanians get one of the three main posts of the state (president, prime minister or speaker of parliament) and other demands such as de ethnicization of state symbols, anthem and other state symbols.

“These are our national based demands which we will present to the Albanian electorate. We’re convinced that these requests will be fulfilled by PDSH, which is the true party that defends national interests of Albanians in Macedonia”, declared for IBNA the spokesman of PDSH, Luan Tresi.

Even BDI which has been so far part of the government, aims to realize 1081 projects through its program “Together”. This program also deals with issues that relate to national rights.

“In the second decade of the Ohrid Agreement, we aim to further advance the rights of the Albanian community, the use of Albanian language, the implementation of cross ethnic consensus in important decisions and institutions, such as the idea for a consensual president of the country, but also other issues which are of nationalist nature, such as advancement and investments in education, science, infrastructure, culture, economy and other social aspects”, says Muhamet Hoxha, one of the senior officials of BDI for IBNA.

But the demands addressed by Albanians have triggered debates in the Macedonian media. Macedonian analysts say that the demands addressed by Albanian parties, especially PDSH, lead to a federalization of the country.

“All these requests are political models that ruin the united nature of the country and lead to federalization. This is not admitted by Albanian parties, but the elements of their requests lead without any doubt to a new order of things”, writes the Macedonian newspaper “Nova Makedonija” in an editorial published this week.

University lecturer, Tanja Karakamiseva says that through these demands, Albanians are being manipulated.

“When Albanian leaders address these requests, they don’t take into account the fact that the Constitution doesn’t allow for the legalization of these demands. According to Albanian politicians, these demands can be fulfilled in the spirit of the Ohrid Agreement, but the reality is different and what they’re doing is a legal and political manipulation”, says Karakamisheva.

Ordinary members from the Albanian community also face a dilemma about the demands addressed by Albanian parties. They say that these demands or platforms are part of the electoral campaign and that they’re repeated in a constant way.

Besim Y., a student from Kumanovo told IBNA that he doesn’t believe in the promises made by Albanian parties. “It’s been years that we have served these platforms. The Ohrid Agreement has not been fully implemented, let alone the demands that relate to the advancement of other issues. Besides, everything that they’re asking for require fresh constitutional amendments and this is difficult to happen. Therefore, we’re clear that we’re having to deal with a campaign filled of promises”, says Besim Y, who adds that he’s nonetheless interested to see an Albanian party realize a promise. /ibna/