IBNA Special Report
Skopje, September 19, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Naser Pajaziti
The proclamation of the so called, Republic of Ilirida by Albanian political veterans in Skopje, has sparked the reaction of the main Macedonian parties.
The idea for the proclamation of this act is based on a referendum held by Albanians on 11 and 12 January 1992, for Territorial Autonomy of Albanians inside of today’s territory of FYROM.
This referendum which was supported in an absolute way by Albanians, was a response toward the new constitution of the country, which restricted the rights of Albanians as a people.
But, during the entire period of political pluralism in the country, Albanians have promoted the idea of the Republic of Ilirida in several occasions, but this has been constantly rejected by Macedonian political parties, a part of Albanian parties, but also by the international factor. The reemergence of this idea has been seen by Macedonian parties as a provocation act toward Macedonians. On the other hand, none of the Albanian parties has been willing to comment this act.
Provoking acts by marginalized politicians
The two large Macedonian parties, VMRO-DPMNE in power and the largest opposition party, LSDM (Macedonian Social Democratic League), have condemned such act carried out by Albanian politicians.
The party in power, VMRO-DPMNE has strongly condemned the declaration for the proclamation of the Republic of Ilirida.
“These events caused by marginalized politicians are a poor effort to damage mutual respect and understanding between the citizens”, said this party through a press release.
According to this party, sovereignty is not something that can be changed by anybody. “These people show immaturity and irresponsibility in their behavior. These attempts which aim at damaging mutual trust must be condemned by all sides”, says VMRO-DPMNE, which calls on political parties not to abuse with these events.
LSDM in opposition has also issued a press release where it condemns the act of the proclamation of the Republic of Ilirida by considering it as provocation.
According to them, nobody has the right to threaten the sovereignty and territorial integration of the country and that the consequences of such step taken by irresponsible structures, fall upon all the citizens of FYROM.
“Such events are a direct result of the policies of the current government to cause divisions and cross ethnic tension, blockades in integrating processes, impoverishment of the citizens and lack of perspective”, reads the press statement of LSDM.
But, this was also commented by several associations and Macedonian public personalities, who have stressed, in a tone of irony, that now, every village or quarter in Skopje can proclaim its independence.
Debates among analysts
Analysts have offered different comments on the recent events. According to analyst Zekiria Ibraimi, the Republic of Ilirida must not be taken this seriously, as it’s interpreted by the media. That is something which has previously existed and there’s nothing new in here.
“I believe that Republic of Ilirada is a Don Quixotuesque effort and a folk like idea. First of all, this idea cannot be realized and secondly, it can damage our image of serious representation in front of the others in this country and abroad. A project for the division of Macedonia is not visionary at the moment. Today we have a non homogeneous presence of Albanians in Macedonia and today, it resembles more to the project of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Macedonia in 2001 than a well pondered Albanian project. Albanians have conducted a referendum in 1992, but it was not taken into consideration even by those who organized it. This means that today, it will be taken even less seriously”, says Ibraimi.
Analyst and diplomat, Alajdin Demiri told IBNA that this is an act of politicians who are not serious. “This is the dream of several politicians who miss their past. I don’t expect this incentive to change the behavior of the largest Albanian political parties”, said Demiri.
History of the Republic of Ilirida
The history of the so called Republic of Ilirida dates back from the period of the independence of the country from the former Yugoslav republic. Albanians, discontent with the 1991 constitution approved by the Macedonian majority, held their referendum for a territorial autonomy known as the Republic of Ilirida, on 11 and 12 January 1992. This was a response to the referendum of the country for independence, which at that time, was boycotted by Albanians, because the constitution was discriminating for Albanians. The referendum was organized by the Party for Democratic Prosperity, which at that time, was the only parliamentary party and which today is a marginalized subject.
Based on the proclamation act, Iliriada implies a territory comprised of Albanians starting from the northern part of the country with Kumanovo, in the east with Manastir (Bitola) and in the southeast with the suburb of Ohrid.
The self proclaimed head of this ‘republic’, Nevzat Halili, told IBNA that their request and the request of all Albanians is for the country to function as a state of two equal republics, that of Ilirida and that of Macedonia, based on the example of the former federation of Serbia and Montenegro and Belgian federation.
He demands from prime minister Nikola Gruevski to follow the example of the former Belgian prime minister, who in 1970 order for Belgium to be federalized. Halili says that they also have a proposal for the name dispute with Greece and this is Republic of Macedonia-Ilirida. /ibna/