Der Spiegel: The Albanians Feel Like ‘Second-Class’ Citizens

Since the early parliamentary elections of December 2016, the de facto power has now switched to total confrontation. For his party VMRO-DPMNE lost its absolute majority. The second-placed opposition Social Democrats, together with three parties of Macedonian Albanians, representing about a quarter of the population, formed a majority of parliament. But President Djordje Ivanov, who belonged to the Gruevski camp, denied the appointment of the head of the Social Democrats, Zoran Zaev, to the formation of government.

As a justification, Ivanov played out the “Albanian map”: the Albanian parties would seek to promote and divide Macedonia with their Tirana-controlled platform. The Albanian parties, however, are essentially concerned with minority and language rights. These were guaranteed already in 2001 in a political framework agreement between Macedonian and Albanian parties, but so far only little implemented. This has given many Albanians the feeling that they are second-class citizens.
The Social Democrats agreed with the Albanian minority to be more consistent with their concerns – and they also received a lot of votes from the elections in December. Gruevski and his party, on the other hand, are trying to sow ethnic hatred: since the beginning of March, parallel to the blockade of the President of the State, they organized every-night nationalist, anti-Balkan demonstrations in the capital, Skopje and other parts of the country, under the motto “For a united Macedonia”.

In summary, the storm of nationalists to the parliament of Macedonia and flogging for deputies caused terror in the EU, because the Balkan country is a candidate for membership. Behind the clashes apparently head of government Nikola Gruevski. He seems to want to lead the country to a nationalist course. The premier threatens a long-term imprisonment because of an abortion. But so far he has been able to prevent a process because the judiciary is on his side.