Opposition and international community demand wide consensus on constitutional amendments

Opposition and international community demand wide consensus on constitutional amendments

IBNA Special Report

Skopje, January 23, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

The main topic of debate in FYR Macedonia relates to constitutional amendments. Parliament today has scheduled a session for the voting of this package of constitutional amendments, but the majority needed for the package to be passed, is still lacking. The two majority parties had agreed on voting these constitutional changes, but three MPs of the Albanian party BDI (Democratic Union for Integration) have blocked their approval.

These are three MPs known as former commanders of the former National Liberation Army during 2001. In the recent days, they have blocked the session and confirmed that they will not back constitutional changes.

Meanwhile, their decision is not to declare anything for the media, but unofficially, they demand in these constitutional amendments, issues that relate to Albanians in FYR Macedonia, a wider use of Albanian language, national symbols, decisions that guarantee equality for Albanians such as the budget, military and other domains.

What are the proposed constitutional changes

VMRO and BDI majority has determined a number of points for these constitutional amendments:

The marriage is the union between man and woman and all other marriages are forbidden.

The Popular Bank of Macedonia changes its name to Bank of Macedonia.

Changes in several tax policy laws for the limitation of financial deficits.

Application of a new institution called “Institution of Constitutional Complaints”.

Changes in the composition of the judicial council and the creation of several international free zones inside of the territory (these zones enable investments of money, without asking for their origin. But the opposition fears that this may leave room for money laundering).

Opposition demands dialogue and a wider consensus

Minister of Justice, Adnan Jashari, who is a BDI official, says that constitutional amendments are part of a political agreement between two parties of the coalition and according to him, they do not have a political or ethnic character.

“These constitutional amendments do not have a political character and they do not affect ethnic issues. I have often been asked by journalists about this. Ministry of Justice is part of the government and these amendments have been harmonized at the moment when the government was formed through a political agreement between political leaders part of this coalition”, declared minister of Justice, Adnan Jashari.

Coalition parties VMRO-DPMNE and BDI have not declared anything in relation to the latest situation relating to this blockade, but they have underlined that these amendments must comply with European and democratic standards.

PDSH (Albanian Democratic Party) in opposition has declared that it doesn’t back these constitutional amendments.

This party’s MP, Gazmend Aliu, told IBNA that these constitutional amendments are being passed in parliament without a wide political and ethnic consensus.

“These amendments avoid the real problems that Albanians of Macedonia face. To make amendments in domains that relate to homosexuals, the bank, financial international zones and not to deal with the rights of Albanians, is hypocrisy”, said PDSH lawmaker, Gazmend Aliu.

Social Democratic Union (LSDM), as the biggest opposition party in the country, which is boycotting parliament, said that this method of approving constitutional changes is a scenario of Nikola Gruevski’s regime and his party, VMRO-DPMNE. “To make constitutional amendments when the opposition is not in parliament, is arrogance and irresponsibility”, declared for IBNA the LSDM lawmaker, Renata Deskovska, adding that it’s not in the best interest of the country for such amendments to be approved without consensus.

International community demands wide consensus

European Commission declared today that the approval of constitutional amendments requires wide consensus and that their approval without the presence of the opposition is not a good idea.

“In several cases, Venice Commission and European Commission have reiterated that constitutional amendments of this nature must have wide political and social consensus”, declared European Commission spokeswoman, Maja Kocijancic.

The US embassy has recently demanded a wider debate as far as constitutional amendments are concerned. US ambassador, Paul Wohlers said that parties must engage in a political dialogue and achieve consensus on these constitutional changes. /ibna/