Name dispute, the main card of political parties in the campaign

Name dispute, the main card of political parties in the campaign

Skopje, March 14, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

The name dispute will be the main topic which will dominate these presidential and early parliamentary elections.

The priority of political parties will be this topic, which for several decades has not been solved in spite of marathon negotiations between Skopje and Athens under the patronage of UNO.

In all recent elections, this topic has dominated electoral campaigns and it has served as a card in order to gain the sympathy of Macedonian voters.

Political analysts in Skopje say that the name dispute and the strong position of the Macedonian side on this issue will even dominate this campaign.

Given that Macedonian parties associate this issue with a strong feeling of nationalism because they don’t want the name of their country and national identity to change. Meanwhile, Albanian parties demand a compromise between the Greek side and Slavo-Macedonian side, in order to unblock the process of Euro Atlantic integration.

Parties and their positioning

VMRO-DPMNE led by prime minister Nikola Gruevski will focus on the name dispute issue.

This was declared by the senior member of this party, Zoran Stavrevski, who stressed that the positioning remains the same as far as the name issue is concerned.

“We have our concrete stand and we don’t allow the change of the constitutional name. But even in this campaign, we will reconfirm this positioning and on the other hand, we’re ready to have an acceptable solution which defends our constitutional name and doesn’t risk the national identity”, said Stavrevski, adding that accession in the NATO and EU must be done with pride and dignity.

Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Macedonian  League (LSDM), the biggest opposition party, says that the constitutional name must not be changed and that an agreement must be found.

Presidential candidate of this party, Stevo Pendarovski says that the name issue must not be misused for the campaign, but all relevant political subjects must come to an agreement and a joint stance in order to resolve the name dispute issue.

“Compromise is possible through a consensus achieved by the biggest political parties, based on the Ohrid Agreement”, declared Pendarovski, who believes that the Macedonian identity and language should not be threatened.

Meanwhile, the name dispute will not be the priority of Albanian parties. In the wave of the electoral campaign, they will seek a rapid solution to the name issue, but they will leave this issue to be the priority of Macedonian political parties.

Albanian parties underline the urgent need of the solution of the name dispute which would unblock the process of the accession of the country in the NATO and would enable the launch of negotiations for accession in the EU.

Analysts: The campaign which will label traitors and patriots

Atanas Kirovski, an analyst and journalist, who examines relations between Skopje and Athens, stresses that the name dispute issue is unavoidable in this campaign and that this is nr. 1 priority of political parties.

“I think it’s unavoidable because this issue would unblock the process of Euro Atlantic integration. They are important topics for the future of the country and especially this issue which will have a special importance, because we will have the election of the president and the president plays his role in the aspect of foreign policy. I believe that during this electoral campaign, we will encounter a primitive populism, where some appear as heroes and some as traitors. An electoral campaign which will label people as traitors and pseudo patriots”, said Atanas Kirovski.

According to him, several political circles are manipulating by implicating Athens through false diplomatic sources, according to which Greece is interested for the opposition to win, due to the stubborn nationalist positioning of prime minister and leader of VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski.

“We have such rumors and during these days, we have seen Greek media being quoted, but we didn’t hear which media was this. It was said that Greece is backing Macedonian opposition in the elections and this indirectly damages the opposition during the campaign”, says analyst Kirovski.

Publicist and author of the encyclopedic book “Albanian Macedonia”, Prof. Nijazi Muhamedi told IBNA that the name dispute issue will be one of the main topics in this campaign, as it’s considered by Macedonian parties as a capital issue and as a nationalist card.

“Slavo-Macedonians are interested in solving this issue, because this way, they would legitimize a part of the Albanian territory in Macedonia as their territory, the western part of the country. Albanians must raise their voice and must be involved in the process of negotiations, offering their proposals for the name. One of the proposals that came out of Greek diplomatic circles in the negotiations for the name was also the Slavo-Albanian Macedonia. Why can this issue not be part of the debate in the electoral campaign in order for us to legitimize our part or our version about the name of the country, which doesn’t have an internationally known name, but only known as FYROM’, says Muhamedi. /ibna/