Consensual presidential nominee deepens ethnic divisions in FYR Macedonia

Consensual presidential nominee deepens ethnic divisions in FYR Macedonia

Skopje, February 14, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

The debate for a consensual presidential nominee in FYROM, who must be accepted by all ethnic communities, continues to be the focus of the political debate in Skopje.

Such idea has also been backed by the international community and the majority of Macedonian parties have given the green light to this idea which is being promoted by the biggest Albanian party in power, Democratic Union for Integration.

Citizens also stress the need of an acceptable president for all citizens. But, everything depends on VMRO-DPMNE of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, which has ignored such proposal, underlining that it will come up with its presidential nominee, which will be proposed by the party conference taking place on March 1.

But, debates for the presidential elections which will be held on April 13 will continue until presidential nominees are proposed.

BDI: Consensual president or boycott of the elections

Albanian party in power, as a promoter of the idea of a consensual president, will not withdraw from its idea, otherwise, it may boycott the elections.

The minister for the implementation of the Ohrid Agreement, Musa Xhaferi has stressed that there’s still time to discuss about their proposal.

“A multi ethnic democracy exists in Macedonia and the practices followed so fat about the election of the president have lack credibility or authority. This idea is expected to be accompanied by a sincere debate, but I don’t know why parties fear such thing. We don’t care if the candidate is Albanian, Turkish or Macedonian. It happens for the Macedonian candidate to be chosen in the end, but we don’t compromise on this principle and we will promote in the public opinion and within the party’s membership to convince the parties that this model is necessary”, said the minister and senior official of BDI, Musa Xhaferi. But, the idea launched by this party has not found the support of any Albanian opposition parties.

Positive signals from several Macedonian parties

Several Macedonian parties have backed the idea for a consensual president, but this is not the will of the two large parties, VMRO-DPMNE and LSDM. The two big Macedonian parties have prepared their presidential nominees and their announcement is soon expected to be made.

Democratic League (LD) of Pavle Trajanov has indirectly backed the idea for a consensual president who will join all communities.

“Parties must first announce their candidate and the criteria that the consensual candidate must meet. A suitable candidate will be one who will work for the priorities of the country, such as the accession in the EU and NATO. Even if a nominee has the support of the citizens, he must also have political backing. VMRO-DPMNE has its own procedures to come up with the nominee. I am in favor of a consensual presidential nominee who will be voted by Albanians, Macedonians and Turkish”, said Trajanov.

Another newly founded party known as the Alliance for a Positive Macedonia (AMP) has backed the idea for a presidential candidate. The leader of this party, Lupc Zikov, speaking today (14.02) for IBNA, said that this party supports the debate for a consensual presidential candidate. Mr. Zikov says that this is a good incentive and a possibility to bring stability in the political arena and in the cohabitation of the people.

“This is an important step and it’s a good thing that this topic has been brought up at this time in Macedonia”, said Mr. Zikov.

Citizens are interested on a consensual president

Macedonian and Albanian citizens support the idea for a presidential candidate, but they expect signals from political parties.

“Why can’t we have a consensual president? This is a good idea and must be tried. We can offer a chance to Albanians to prove how loyal they are toward this state institution, for which they have been very doubtful until now. All presidents have been unacceptable for the majority of Albanians. Macedonians candidates have not been voted, but there has been voting through political bargaining between Albanian parties and Macedonian parties. Therefore, today, we must support such idea and Albanians must massively support the presidential candidate who will come from the majority, the Macedonian community”, says Jasna M., politolog from Skopje.

Analyst Rizvan Sulejmani says that this phase of the debate is critical and that explanations are needed as soon as possible, avoiding political tactics.

“We haven’t had a president who has obtained wide support or a president who has supported the needs of Albanians or who was ready to understand the needs of the Albanian voter. We are divided in the institutional, social and cultural life”, says Sulejmani.

He also says that in the past 20 years, the country has not made any steps forward in terms of cross ethnic tolerance and that mutual respect is needed. /ibna/