In an exclusive interview for IBNA, the deputy chairman of the largest Albanian opposition party PDSH (Albanian Democratic Party), Orhan Ibrahimi, talks about the political agreement which helped in overcoming the political crisis, the position of Albanians in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, budget and investment issues and also other problems.
According to him, the June 2 Agreement offers strong guarantees for free and democratic elections, which will not offer a chance for criminalized elections organized so far, to be repeated in the country
Interviewed by Naser Pajaziti/IBNA
Your party is one of the signatories of the June 2 political agreement and its finalization. Are you with this agreement?
PDSH is happy with this agreement, but the reasons are not numerous. What’s important is that assurances have been given by the international community for free and democratic elections which will be held on 24 April 2016. We hope and believe that there will be a democratic electoral process and that there will no longer be irregularities in the voting process, irregularities which have been part of electoral processes.
This is important to us as signatory of the political agreement, because so far, criminalized elections have led to criminalized institutions, including the leaders of these institutions.
Under the agreement, your party to should have been part of the interim government. Why didn’t this happen?
We are not part of the new government, thus we remain in opposition. PDSH is the only opposition party in this country now. But on the other hand, we have offered our contribution in the talks about the solution of the crisis, demanding for Albanian ministers in the government not to be undermined. But the biggest responsibility for this falls upon the other Albanian party, BDI (Democratic Union for Integration), which is part of the government. But as we can see, Macedonian vice ministers do have the right of veto, while Albanian vice ministers do not.
As an opposition party, how do you consider the level in which the rights of Albanians in the country are being respected?
Here we have a political history and a party such as BDI which for 12 years, since the signing of the Ohrid Agreement has been part of the government. We and BDI too, believe that rights of Albanians are not being respected, starting with a wider use of the language, discrimination in different fields, especially in the economic domain and the lack of investments in Albanian areas. Therefore, the Albanian party which is part of the government, must bear responsibility for this.
Where do you base your criticism for economic discrimination?
On the 2016 budget. We have analyzed its content and we can say that a very small part has been allocated in terms of investments and funds for Albanian communes. We have a lack of equality between Albanian inhabited areas and Macedonian inhabited areas. In Macedonian inhabited areas, there’s modern infrastructure, highways, regional and local roads, schools and universities, theaters, gymnasiums, free economic zones with tens of foreign plants and over 20 thousand employed people. In the Albanian inhabited areas, the infrastructure is medieval, the roads that link Albanian towns with Albania’s and Kosovo’s border are of a poor quality there’s no drinking water, schools are in miserable conditions, there are no health centers, no free economic zones, no foreign plant and as a result, no people employed. /ibna/