Kosovo and Albania have condemned Macedonia’s President for refusing to allow the Social Democrat-led opposition to form a government in alliance with ethnic Albanian parties on the grounds that it could ‘destroy’ the country.
Political leaders in Albania and Kosovo have condemned the decision on Wednesday by Macedonia President Gjorje Ivanov to refuse the offer of a mandate to the Social Democrat leader Zoran Zaev because of his alliance with Macedonia’s ethnic Albanian parties.
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama on Wednesday said Albanian demands for their language to be made official throughout Macedonia were legitimate.
“Albanian is not the language of the enemy but of a state-forming population in Macedonia. Without Albanians, there is no Macedonia, dear President,” Rama wrote in a post that attracted 30,000 likes. Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati retweeted the message.
Opposition Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha accused Ivanov of blatant discrimination against Albanians.
“This standpoint does not contribute to harmony between state-forming ethnicities in Macedonia … The acceptance of bilingualism would emancipate Macedonian society and widen freedom in the country,” he opined.
In Kosovo, President, Hashim Thaci used harsher words to accuse Ivanov of effectively burying democracy and the 2001 Ohrid agreement, which ended a brief armed conflict between Macedonians and ethnic Albanians.
“In the end, Albanians in Macedonia should take the fate of their rights into their hands,” Thaci warned.
Rama and Bushati in Albania and Thaci in Kosovo played an active role in the adoption of the joint platform of Albanian demands in Macedonia. The three Albanian Macedonian parties made the seven-point platform – discussed in Tirana and Pristina and later signed in Skopje on January 8 – a condition for entering any government coalition with the main Macedonian parties.
Ivanov said Zaev’s acceptance of the parties’ so-called “Albanian platform” could potentially “destroy” Macedonia.
Macedonia’s general election in December ended inconclusively after the ruling VMRO DPMNE party won 51 of the 120 seats and the main opposition Social Democrats, SDSM, won 49.
As a result, the 20 seats won by the Albanian parties become crucial for any government that was to be formed following the election.
One of the most important points of the Albanian platform concerns language.
“The constitution of Macedonia should define the Macedonian language … and the Albanian language … as official languages [throughout] the Republic of Macedonia,” the platform said.
Albabian is currently official only in those areas where Albanians make up a significant percentage of the population.
The platform also called for the adoption of a resolution in Macedonia’s parliament condemning what it called “the genocide against Albanians in Macedonia” from 1912 to 1956 – 1912 marking the year when Serbia seized Macedonia from the Ottoman Empire.
The platform also demanded more economic and social parity between Macedonia’s various regions.