The only Albanian candidate in the presidential elections, Iljaz Halimi from the Albanian Democratic Party (PDSH) in the interview given for IBNA, talks about the causes of his nomination, his offer in these presidential elections, what his focus will be in this campaign and the call of BDI for the boycott of the process.
Interviewed by Naser Pajaziti:
IBNA: You’re the only Albanian candidate in these presidential elections. In five presidential elections, Albanians have shared their candidates. What’s your offer and why should Albanians vote you?
Halimi: I have run for president in order for Albanians to become a decision making factor. Everyone must know that Albanians are an organized community in this state. We also want to show that Albanians have well prepared professionals who can govern the country. It’s important to show that Albanians are not an amorphous and unimportant mass in the Republic of Macedonia. Based on the election result, we will decide on the future options that we will offer and which will be based on the votes that we will receive. It’s important for the country to be governed in the right way and in the interest of Albanians.
IBNA: But, the other Albanian party, BDI didn’t come out with a candidate, as it could not fulfill its idea for a presidential candidate. How do you assess the positioning of this party, which has now started a campaign for the boycott of the elections?
Halimi: Their offer for a consensual candidate was an agreement between BDI and VMRO-DPMNE in order to head toward early parliamentary elections. There should have been a scenario in order to achieve this scope. And this is what happened. BDI demanded from VMRO-DPMNE to come up with a joint candidate, acceptable for BDI. But VMRO-DPMNE replied that this party would be the one to choose the presidential nominee in the convention of the party and that it didn’t need the coalition party to dictate the candidate. They agreed for the early parliamentary elections to take place in the second round of the presidential elections, in order to have sufficient voters for Ivanov, and this is what will happen. This campaign has been made by them in order not to vote the only Albanian candidate, but the idea for a consensual candidate is absurd, especially now that the presidential campaign has started, it’s absurd to try and elaborate this demand, because this is an issue which can only be raised after the parliamentary elections. Before the next government is formed, they can also agree on the possible options for the election of the future head of state. Thus, it’s likely for Albanian party to condition their participation with many demands, including the idea for a presidential candidate, before becoming part of the government. These presidential elections are held based on the electoral code and the census and 40% of voters must participate in them. To spend enormous amounts of money for a demand which can easily be resolved if there’s persistence before entering the government, it’s a mockery with the citizens.
IBNA: Where will your campaign focus? What are some of its most important topics?
Halimi: As a presidential candidate, I have my offer which I will unveil it to the citizens during the electoral campaign. In contrast to the presidents who have served so far, I will be a president of all the citizens and I will work for the functioning of the legal and social system where all citizens and ethnic communities will not feel discriminated, but respected. For the different problems that will emerge, my reaction will be prompt by offering solutions in overcoming them. I will not allow the passing of any laws which will not comply with the constitution. I will pay attention to proportional involvement of all communities in parliament and of all state institutions. Religious communities will receive equal treatment and will be helped in fulfilling their rights.
IBNA: Are you optimistic that you will win more than 300 thousand votes and that you will head toward the run off phase with the Macedonian presidential candidates?
Halimi: I’m optimistic, in spite of the attempts which aim to prevent the elections. Citizens are not an instrument that can be manipulated. Nobody has the right to appeal and issue directives not to vote and least of all, Ali Ahmeti, who has been in power for 10 years and has not implemented any national project. None of the promises has been met. He didn’t even bring the law on the invalids of war and the families of martyrs. He’s to be blamed for many mono ethnic Macedonian projects, police actions and other affairs against Albanians. Although they try to organize a luxurious campaign spending the money of the people, they will not be able to prevent the will of voters to vote. They will not even be helped by the media and people who are being bought out in order to hold a campaign against me, as the only Albanian presidential candidate proposed by PDSH.
IBNA: What is your positioning in relation to the name dispute and the process of Euro Atlantic integration?
Halimi: I will pay special attention to solve the issue of the name dispute with the Republic of Greece as soon as possible. I will ask to discuss the names proposed so far by Nimetz with the representatives of relevant political parties and by a group of experts of different fields in order not to accept a name which will threaten national identity. The solution of the name dispute is the only option to unblock the Euro integrating processes of Macedonia.
IBNA: What about the Ohrid agreement?
Halimi: The Ohrid Agreement should have been implemented since 2004. 10 years later, this process is still in a gridlock. None of the points which have been sanctioned in the Ohrid Agreement has been implemented. Decentralization of power has not taken place, Albanian language is used in a selective way, Albanian symbols have been degraded, the reassociation of participants of the 2001 conflict has been forgotten, etc.
IBNA: What is your primary message as a presidential candidate?
Halimi: I would like to appeal to the citizens to vote and fulfill their national obligation. Do not allow anyone to manipulate your will for political gains and do not allow anybody to stay in power for 12 years by misusing your trust and hope. Those who are in power today, do not deserve another term in office, because they abused with the trust given to them so far. I am convinced that this time, you will join your vote for the only Albanian candidate, because through your vote, you honor me, yourself and the nation. /ibna/