Macedonia: Gruevski Isolated In Demanding New Elections

By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

The main opposition Social Democrats and Macedonia’s ethnic Albanian parties have dismissed VMRO DPMNE leader and former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s call for another general election.

Macedonia’s opposition Social Democrats, SDSM – who have obtained a majority in parliament to form a new government – have ruled out another early general election as a way out of the current crisis.

Replying to repeated calls from VMRO DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski over the weekend for a fresh election, presumably in May, together with the local polls, the SDSM said this would only allow Gruevski to prolong the crisis further.

“Macedonian citizens don’t want new parliamentary elections! They have already supported the concept of one society for all [in the December 11 early elections],” the SDSM said.

“That won’t happen! We are working on peaceful transfer of power as soon as possible. We still hope the President will retract his unconstitutional decision, as the best possible option for resolving the stalemate, but we have other options which we hope won’t be necessary,” SDSM spokesperson Petre Shilegov said.

Speaking at the weekend for Croatian Radio and Television, VMRO DPMNE head Gruevski offered two solutions.

One is for the SDSM to denounce the so-called “Albanian platform” – the conditions set by ethnic Albanian parties to join a new government – while the other was to hold fresh elections.

Gruevski said new elections would serve as a referendum for or against the platform pushed by the country’s ethnic Albanian parties.

“The goal of this offer is prolongation of the crisis because to put it simply, Gruevski does not want to go. Even if we go to new elections, which we would win, what makes you think that [President] Ivanov would then award the mandate to the opposition?” Shilegov asked.

President Ivanov on Wednesday refused to award a mandate to Zaev and the SDSM, despite their majority in parliament, claiming their alliance with Albanian parties and acceptance of the “Albanian platform” had the potential to “destroy the country”.

Zaev had earlier accepted the main demands of the ethnic Albanian parties as contained in the agreed platform.

Zaev, who has the support of all three ethnic Albanian parties represented in parliament, then accused Ivanov of attempting a coup.

Macedonia has not had a new government for over two-and-a-half months, since the December 11 early elections failed to produce a clear winner.

Meanwhile, the other key Albanian players have also opted against the idea of another snap poll.

The main Albanian party in Macedonia, the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, last week strengthened its resolve to participate in a new SDSM-led government, saying it was ready to join Zaev’s government, not just support it.

“New elections are not the way out because they would only deepen the crisis. The formation of a new political government that would have the support of the majority of citizens is the best possible option,” the DUI said on Monday.

Another Albanian party, Besa, as well as the Alliance for Albanians, have said since January that they would boycott any attempt at repeat elections.

The two parties, which both support Zaev’s bid to form a new government, say their stands on this issue have not changed.

Tensions – high since the election in December – soared further last Monday after Zaev called on President Ivanov to offer him a mandate to form new government, which he refused to do.

VMRO DPMNE party supporters have meanwhile been staging daily street protests denouncing Zaev’s announced government in Skopje and in other towns. The protests were set to resume on Tuesday.

Like VMRO DPMNE, the demonstrators claim a potential coalition government between Zaev’s Social Democrats and the Albanian parties would endanger Macedonia’s sovereignty.

Zaev has insisted that the street protests are a cover designed to allow Gruevski to cling onto power and so escape justice.

The Albanian parties have denied planning to destroy Macedonia, saying they mainly want improved status for the Albanian language and more equal access to the country’s resources in the budget.
– See more at: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/macedonia-s-gruevski-alone-in-calling-for-fresh-elections-03-06-2017#sthash.TG0qn2Nk.dpuf

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.

One thought on “Macedonia: Gruevski Isolated In Demanding New Elections

  • March 7, 2017 at 7:57 am
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    The fragmented mess of Yugoslavia and communism in the Balkans will not ethnically,geographically or socially mend itself in our generation.
    Albanians are indigenous to the Balkans which means they predate Slavic settlement there. As such they will always be looked at by the Slavic communities in a vulgar and derogatory way. Their Islamification which occurred under the Ottomans has now in a Christian landscape worked against them. Slavic Macedonians, Serbs and Greeks look down upon them. Greece has a method of controlling self determination and nationalist aspirations within its borders with a zero tolerance approach. Others like Macedonia have to play it diplomatically for they cannot afford to ruffle feathers. The Serbs have their problems compounded in Bosnia (Republika Srpska) and Kosovo(Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija). They are trying to conduct administration in fragmented territories that house their populations.
    On the surface its looks ridiculous that the breakup of Yugoslavia could cause such a devastating phenomena. It has.

    If anyone had said 20 years ago that there would be such a creature as a Montenegrin you would have laughed. They are Serbs and were always the proudest of Serbs. They have now become Montenegrins that don’t think they speak Yugoslav (Serbo-Croatian) but instead speak a new tongue called Montenegrin. I actually met a fool that claimed that Montenegrin was different. Are these Slavs on crack?
    Croats,Serbs, Montenegrins and Bosnians all speak the same language. They have the same DNA. The same culture. The same traditions. If someone had said to me 20 years ago that there would be a creature called a Bosnian I would have laughed at them. They now exist. Muslims on their Yugoslav passports and now they have an exclusive title as Bosnian. I wonder what the Muslims of Macedonia,Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro call themselves now? Not Bosnian that’s for sure.

    The not so new creature the Macedonian has existed since 1991. What was a regional consciousness in 1946 under Tito has developed into an ethnicity via Gligarov. Prior to 1946 Macedonian Slavs had always identified as ethnic Bulgarians but were spiritually from Macedonia. The same can be said for the Albanians and Greeks of Macedonia. They identified ethnically with their race but spiritually with their territory. Dalchev and Gruev died for Bulgaria not Macedonia. They did not identify as Hellenes in fact their disdain for Slavic Macedonians that embraced Greek history was extreme. They used to pass death sentences to those Macedonian slavs who would claim that the blood of Alexander flowed through their veins. If Dalchev and Gruev were around today the majority of the Macedonian Slav community both on the continent and diaspora would be dead but they are not. the Gruevski brainwashing is more powerful than Gruev’s legacy. Both Dalchev and Gruev are turning in their graves that the Modern day Macedonian Slav is claiming Hellenistic culture.

    The Albanians have always been there. While they were within a Yugoslav Federation it wasn’t problematic. As soon as the place disintegrated the Albanian issue intensified. Milosevic and Karadzic didn’t help matters. Had the transition period to independence been handled slightly more sensitively by thinking people this mess that now exists in all the territories could have been avoided. Albanians in Kosovo did not want independence. They wanted the equal rights. It was Serbia’s provocative ethnic cleansing that caused the change. Instead of embracing a multicultural framework and governing the place peacefully they went psycho. Apart from the Croats who were too right extreme from day one (ustashi rhetoric) and the Slovenes (one of Tito’s parents are to blame) the country had no reason for war. Ethnically and linguistically homogeneous with the exception of the Albanians.

    The Albanians have a high birth rate, much higher than their Slavic neighbors. Greece doesn’t care how many children they have because they are schooled in Greek schools and are usually baptized. Their Albanian heritage is fairly watered down after a generation or two. In western Macedonia and Kosovo they have Albanian language lessons, Albanian consciousness and mosques. Athens doesn’t have one active mosque yet. Additionally my observation of Albanians that have emigrated to Greece since 1989 is that they are people without religion.Islam isn’t practiced among the Albanians of Greece. Many have embraced Orthodoxy in order to fit in, whereas my travels through Kosovo and Macedonia I saw very religious Islam practicing Albanians. The Fez is quite prominent especially with the older men.

    The border shifts in the last two centuries have been happening around the Albanians and they have had to adapt. Their ethnicity has never been in question.Their consciousness has never been in question. The problem has always been living among the Slavs. Slavs have attempted to dominate where they are a majority. No one asked the Albanians if they wanted a star or Vergina on their flag in Macedonia. No one asked the Albanians if they wanted a statue of Alexander the Great in Skopje. They might have opted for a two headed eagle or a Statue of Skanderbeg. They were never asked. The goal posts have moved considerably for the Albanians of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia both culturally and economically. The antiqization that has enveloped their country via Gruevski’s 2014 masterpiece has alienated them. Their quarter of the city remains run down and in decay. Instead of restoring their historical buildings and celebrating a unique multi ethnic history the ruling party has built grotesque structures around them that has polarized the community. Slav identity and non Slav identity. The rhetoric that is coming out of Ivanov’s office is Slavic culture or no culture. They will be far more united and militant in the face of rejection. The Albanian political parties never got on.They do now because of one reason.

    It’s sad that the Balkans have become messy. I still have fond memories of 1985 as an 18 year old travelling through Yugoslavia when everyone got on and everyone used to tearfully sing folkloric songs and drink copious amounts of raki. Those days are gone but the Albanians are still there. They should be respected and any ethnic negotiations should be handled with care for their consciousness and ethnicity is unique.

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