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Macedonia: Secrecy Shrouds Coalition Talks

Skopje, Macedonia. Photo by Rašo, Wikipedia Commons.Skopje, Macedonia. Photo by Rašo, Wikipedia Commons.

By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Teams led by the vice-presidents of the Social Democratic Union, SDSM, and the Democratic Union for integration, DUI, met on Monday in Skopje to resume talks on forming an opposition-led government in Macedonia.

After the talks with the SDSM, DUI vice-president Teuta Arifi briefly told media that they had been “constructive” and would continue.

A source from within the SDSM told BIRN under condition of anonymity that they hoped the ongoing talks would end with a coalition agreement.

“Talks with the DUI at all levels are ongoing and we are very hopeful they will result in an agreement. But we decided not to feed any speculation until we have something solid that we can present,” the source told BIRN on Monday.

Over the weekend, media speculation suggested a deal on forming an SDSM-led government could be expected within days. News outlet 24vesti TV cited an unnamed source from the SDSM as saying that they expected to receive support from the DUI by Tuesday.

Some media outlets also cited unnamed sources as saying that the main point of discussion between the DUI and the SDSM was only whether to immediately send the list of MPs’ signatures confirming a majority to parliament, or wait until all open issues between the two parties had been ironed out.

According to these reports, the SDSM has in principle accepted most of the demands contained in the so-called “Albanian platform”, but the modalities for their implementation are still up for discussion.

“The talks are now in a very delicate phase,” the SDSM source told BIRN.

The so-called Albanian platform reached between all the main ethnic Albanian parties in Macedonia after the December 11 election focuses on demands for improvement of the political, economic and lingustic rights of the community in Macedonia.

The DUI has also stayed silent about the talks during the past couple of days.

Last weekend, the DUI leader Ali Ahmeti told Albania’s Top Channel TV that he had “not reached a definitive decision on a coalition with the SDSM as yet”.

All options, including a renewed alliance with the DUI’s former government partner, VMRO DPMNE, remained open, he added.

Xhelan Neziri, from the Center for Investigative Journalism SCOOP-Macedonia, says the chances of an alliance between the SDSM and DUI are realistic if they engage in honest talks.

“Such a coalition is possible because the two main points that the DUI insists on as non-negotiable – extension of the mandate of the Special Prosecution, SJO, and the wider use of the Albanian language – pose no problem for the SDSM.

“I have the impression that the SDSM is primarily interested in the SJO, but at the same time this party came out with election promises and a readiness to close all issues that produce ethnic tension in Macedonia,” he told Deutsche Welle on Monday.

The SDSM started talks on forming a government last week after their bitter rivals in Nikola Gruevski’s VMRO DPMNE failed to meet the deadline to form a government.

President Ivanov then decided not to give the mandate to the opposition straight away but said he wanted proof of a parliamentary majority before handing any party or alliance a mandate to form a government.

In the December 11 elections, VMRO DPMNE won 51 of the 120 seats in parliament, while the SDSM won 49.

Either side needs the support of at least 61 MPs to have a majority. This makes both parties dependent on the support of ethnic Albanian parties who together control 20 seats.

The Albanian opposition Besa party and the DPA – Movement for Reforms, who together control eight seats, last week said they would back a SDSM-led government.

But decisive support from the DUI, which controls ten seats, is still lacking.

It had been hoped that the December 11 elections would resolve a prolonged political crisis that revolves around opposition claims that as Prime Minister, Gruevski illegally wiretapped thousands of people.

The claims emerged from tapes revealed by the SDSM in 2015. Gruevski says foreign intelligence services gave the wiretaps to the opposition in order to destabilize the country.
– See more at: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/secrecy-shrouds-macedonia-govt-talks-02-06-2017#sthash.WOrXFuel.dpuf


About the Author

Balkan Insight
Balkan Insight
The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

2 Comments on "Macedonia: Secrecy Shrouds Coalition Talks"

  1. Sinisa Jakov Marusic,your comment on this site is not honest enough to be credible.You clearly accusing Nikola Gruevski for the illegal wiretapping when you know very well it was Zoran Verusevski.Why can’t you write the truth if you consider yourself a news wordy?I guess my question is,are you supported by the TENT of Soros because you are trying to complicate Gruevski on wiretapping’s when you know one co-conspirator admitted the truth and got three years jail for cooperating with the law.

  2. michael danias | February 17, 2017 at 2:06 am | Reply

    First and foremost Macedonian language does not exist. Its Bulgarian. If you put a Bulgarian and a Slavic Macedonian in a room together they will communicate perfectly. It’s like a US born person speaking to a Canadian born person. They are both speaking English. So lets not beat around the bush. Its Bulgarian that they speak.
    Secondly and just as important is that all Slavic Macedonians are Slavs. no ifs or buts. If they were all to undergo DNA tests they would test positive as Slavs. They are not related to ancient Macedonians who were Greek. They are not related to Alexander the great who was Greek. they are related to Goce Delčev who was a Bulgarian Slav. they are not related to mother Teresa who was an Albanian. cultural theft is what FYROM is built on. They grab everything close at hand as their own. The brainwashing by the VMRO-DPMNE of its citizens in the last decade is alarming. Cheap Italian reproduction statues of ancient persons adorn their capital. Millions of dollars spent creating a false history whilst the country languishes in financial peril. They even had the audacity to name their airport in the capital after an ancient figure that they are completely distant from. The Albanian minority will have their official language. The conservatives will continue to let the Slavic and Albanian populations of Fyrom down with a lack of morality, truth and transparency. Phone tapping and corruption are now visible. Cultural lies have been exposed. They will change their name for they have no choice . There are many options. They cannot possibly believe that they can take on the intellectual world with their stupidity. Our closest relatives, the Albanians (proud ancient illyrian people) will always act as a control mechanism in Fyrom. They have a higher birthrate than the slavic population. They have a far more radical irredentist ideology when it comes to Greater Albania than the Slavic Macedonians. If it can happen in Kosovo then it most certainly can happen in Fyrom. EU membership will never be an option. Greeks being a proud people of antiquity are offended. We will never entertain the stupidity of Fyrom. We are educated people that don’t have to question their origin. Its a continuum of the past. All they have to do is drop the cultural connection and their country will thrive. They are so dogmatic via ignorance that they are making life difficult for themselves. Elections, pollution, recognition, economic growth. It all stems from one thing – they are a basket case. Self inflicted pain which could have been avoidable if they just learned their history.

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