Macedonia Albanians To Block Parliament Over Army Law


By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Ethnic Albanian party threatens to block the work of parliament with hundreds of amendments if the ruling party pushes on with a controversial law on the armed forces.

A controversial law concerning the rights of members of the Macedonian armed forces and their families is to be put to a session of Macedonia’s parliamentary commission on labor on Wednesday. Next week the law is to be put to a plenary session.


The draft law put forward by the main ruling VMRO-DPMNE party provides a range of privileges for members of the armed forces that fought in the conflict in 2001.

The privileges also apply to their families, and to those of deceased fighters.

But the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, the junior party in the coalition government – whose leaders are former Albanian guerrilla fighters – either wants the same rights extended to them and their families or the bill dropped altogether.

“Our primary goal is for the draft not to pass,” a DUI legislator told Balkan Insight under condition of anonymity.

The legislator said that the party plans to submit “hundreds of amendments to try to block the session” as well as to “use other means that are at our disposal”.

The party will also insist that such a draft law needs a so-called double majority to become law.

This means that MPs from both main ethnic communities must vote for it to pass into law.

“Leaving the government is not an option right now but if VMRO [DPMNE] does not change its mind we will have to consider it,” the legislator added.

A government crisis erupted in mid-August when the Defence Minister, Fatmir Besimi, an ethnic Albanian from the DUI, laid flowers before a monument to Albanian guerilla fighters killed in the 2001 conflict in Slupcane, a village near the northern town of Kumanovo.

The act outraged many Macedonians, and President Gjorgje Ivanov and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski both criticized Besimi.

The crisis then intensified when VMRO DPMNE soon after tendered the draft law on the miitary, prompting the DUI to threaten to leave the government.

But VMRO DPMNE seems unfazed.

“Solving the status of defenders [army and police veterans] was part of our election promises and we are determined to see this done,” Silvana Boneva, a legislator from VMRO DPMNE, said.

Unofficially, members of the party say a possible compromise with the DUI is unlikely until the Prime Minister and party leader, Gruevski, returns from a official trip to the US.

He is leading an economic road show aimed at attracting foreign investors to Macedonia from America.

Recently, President Ivanov expressed optimism that the government parties will find a way to overcome their differences.

The dispute is “nothing out of the ordinary in a democratic society” and “we should let government partners work thing out,” Ivanov said.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (formerly 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.

18 thoughts on “Macedonia Albanians To Block Parliament Over Army Law

  • September 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    us albanians in slav macediona shouldnt join slav macediona army we should make our own why should i die for a state who does not care for more long live mother albania there is no ethnic albania only greater albania

    • September 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      You should be greatfull for living in the Republic of Macedonia.Look around you,the problems you are creating in the Balkans.Look at the human rights in your greater Albania,compare them with the Republic of Macedonia.For that matter,compare them in the Balkan neihgboring countries.

  • September 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Why does the article refer to the Slavs as Macedonians and the Albanians as Albabians. While I dispute the so called Macedonian ethnicity, if the writer of this article seems fit to use the term, then shouldn’t she call everyone who lives in that country Macedonian. If she wants to differentiate then she should use the terms, Albanian Macedonians and Slav Macedonians. Albanians are not visitors to that country or second class citizens.
    This is what happens when people accept the absurd notion of some kind of Macedonian ethnicity as opposed to a geographical determinant. This state I’s primarily composed of Slavs and Albanians. The Greek province of Macedonia is populated by Greeks. At the very least do not monoplize the name Macedonia.

    • September 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      Akron,I won’t make any comment on Apolodorus Lambroides comment,but I can honestly tell you,he hit the nail dead on the head!
      Your rant about anything Macedonian is as idiotic as they come!

  • September 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    You should spend some time cleaning up your own mess in Greece (God knows you have plenty of it), before sticking your ugly nose in other’s countries business. Greeks can learn a thing or two about human rights from Macedonia where minorities are not only recognized but they are fully integrated in the governments’ structure and administaration. Greek Macedonia, which greece obtained for the first time after the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, was ethnically cleansed by your government and repopulated by so-called christians brought to Macedonia from the neighboring countries. These people did not even speak Greek let alone be the descendents of the ancient Macedonians. The farce with greeks claim that “Macedonia is Greece” is nothing less and nothing more than that; a farce, a groundless, unsupportive claim that has no validity, no basis in history. Lies do not and cannot be substituted for truth. Stationing “guards” like barking dogs at every media outlet to spread venom and distort the truth may be effective for a short time but eventually the public will see that their position and their assertions are based on a foundation of lies. You are not fooling anybody anymore; the only individuals who subscribe to your bigoted views are your own kind: the “golden dawn” followers. Keep on dwelling in the muddy hole that you dugged up by yourselves.

  • September 6, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    What a statement:

    “learn a thing or two about human rights from Macedonia where minorities are not only recognized but they are fully integrated in the governments’ structure and administration”

    but it is far from the truth: Macedonia is a perfect example of abuse of minority rights with respect to those of Bulgarian ethnicity. Ever since 1944 such people have been persecuted. Even nowadays ethnic Bulgarians in Macedonia are severely discriminated against. Hatred toward this minority is a state ideology there…

  • September 6, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Can 3 peoples all be wrong?

    Macedonians not Slav Macedonians say the people of the majority in Macedonia.

    But Greeks say they are Slavs of Bulgarian ancestry and Bulgarians flat out call them Bulgarians. While it took 30 years to fool Albanians and call them Macedonians by Marshall Tito with his great plan to annex parts of Bulgaria and Northern Greece by calling the people Macedonians.

    If you keep telling your Bulgarian children that they are Macedonian for 30 to 60 years, eventually they will all believe it.

    That is exactly what has happened, same thing happened to the Albanian – Arvanites who kept being told by the Greeks that they are Greeks and now actually believe the nonsense and lies of 100 years of continued lies.

    • September 7, 2012 at 7:56 am

      Arvanites (Greek: Αρβανίτες, Arvanitika: Arbëreshë are a population group in Greece who traditionally speak Arvanitika, a dialect of the Albanian language. They settled in Greece during the late Middle Ages and were the dominant population element of some regions of the Peloponnese and Attica until the 19th century. Arvanites today SELF-IDENTIFY AS GREEKS as the result of a process of assimilation, and do not consider themselves to belong to ALBANIA OR THE ALBANIAN NATION TO BE A GREEK IS NOT A MATTER OF BLOOD OR WHAT IS YOUR FAMILY RACE BUT IF YOU HAVE HELLENIC CONSCIENCE it is hard for “barbarians”(joke) to understand What is the Hellenic conscience, but this matter was solved by ancient greeks philosophers in 4th century BC , not now. Alexander’s the great dream was to make the barbarians Greeks via hellenic civilization and greek way of life!

  • September 7, 2012 at 7:35 am

    The interethnic tensions and slavic nationalism is rising daily in this landlocked country vardarska banovina (fyrom) the skopian slavs (blgari) have a hostile policy not only to its own albanian ,bulgarian and vlach-greek minority but to all neighboring countries i will remind the expansionistic irredentist provocations for thessaloniki area and Greek macedonia province , Before a new war comes to Balkans ,the need of an international plan of measures must be implemented . The federalization of fyrom to ethnic zones is a good idea for permanent peace in the region .

  • September 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Mitsaras, I do not disagree with you about the hellenic civilization, Albanians did belong or were influenced by the hellenic civilization and believed in the greek gods and such, but just like the Greeks themselves they switched religions to the Abrahamic ones, Christianity & Islam.

    If it was not for religion and based strictly on Ethnic blood makeup, Today Albania & Greece would be the same nation (United and Strong with no dividing lines)

    While religion unites local tribes with the unity of same religion, it also divides at the same time ethnic bloodlines that chose not to follow the same Religion.

    Religion has the strongest following among the world’s poor & uneducated. (Its their hope of a better life in the afterworld).

    While the highly educated scientists can not be convinced of religion because in science you need actual proof and not fairy tales for a theory to work.

    See Steven Weinberg on why religion turns even good people to evil people.

  • September 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Mitsaras, I don’t agree with you that federalization will work in Fyrom, because its just like making a mini Yugoslavia, it failed because the majority ethnic group (Serb)tried to impose itself on the smaller groups.

    Do not forget that for 500 years Western and Northern Fyrom was part of Kosovo and Kosovo’s capital was not Prishtina it was Uskup or today’s Skopje which is now Fyrom’s capital.

    Skopje needs to be split between Kosovo and Fyrom and the Western and Northern parts of Fyrom need to join Kosovo for lasting peace in the region.

    See historic map of Kosovo from 1400-1900

  • September 7, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    The tall & rugged mountains of Albania were the one reason why Albanians survived the onslaught of the Serbs, Greeks, Bulgarians & Rome.

    The Mountains name are called The Cursed Mountains. In the ancient times you needed to provide a scary name for your homeland to keep out invaders. Just like Iceland called its name Iceland. Who would want to invade a place called Land of Ice?

    A look at Albanians Cursed Mountains:

  • September 7, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Peter and all other Skopians on this page. This is what the world thinks of your fake nation:

    “Those who live in Skopje and say that that is Macedon and Alexander’s homeland are as IGNORANT and OUTRAGEOUS as if someone was to say that Oxford University was really in Belarus and Oxford was Minsk”- Prof. Robin Fox Lane Oxford University

  • September 7, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Even your own Foreign Affairs Minister admitted that you invented your entire history and identity. Ouch!

    Denko Malevski(1st minister of foreign affairs in FYROM):

    The creation of the “Macedonian” nation, for almost half of a century, was done in a condition of single-party dictatorship. In those times, there was no difference between science and ideology, so the “Macedonian” historiography, unopposed by anybody, comfortably performed a selection of the historic material from which the “Macedonian” identity was created. In those years, we lost our capability for strategic dialog. With Greeks? No, with ourselves. Since then, namely, we reach towards some fictional ethnic purity which we seek in the depths of the history & we are angry at those which dare to call us Slavs & our language & culture Slavic? We are angry when they name us what we are if we have to define ourselves in such categories, showing that we are people full with complexes which are ashamed of ourselves.
    The idea that Alexander the Great belong to FYROM,was at the mind of some outsider political groups only!!These groups were insignificant the first years of our independence..the big problem is that the old Balkan Nations have been learned to legitimate themselves through their history. In Balkans,if you want to be recognised as a Nation,you need to have history of 3000 years old.Since Greeks made us to INVENT a history..we did invent it…

  • September 8, 2012 at 3:36 am

    The skopjian leadership has won!

  • September 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Except for a narrow strip in the south, the FYROM’s territory has never been part of ancient Macedonia. Further this state never existed before 1944 when Marshall Tito created it as one of the constituent republics of communist Yugoslavia. To claim the name, ethnicity and culture of “Macedonia” by the FYROM which has only about 10% of the ancient Macedonian area is ludicrous and irritating to those that live in the other 90% of that area. Furthermore, since this 10% is only 1/5 of its own land, calling the whole country “Macedonia” is ludicrous and irritating to many inhabitants of the other 4/5 of the FYROM which have no connection whatsoever to ancient Macedonia.

    The term Macedonia was used officially within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia since April 30, 1944. But now as an independent state The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has in the past and will claim in the future exclusivity on the term Macedonia and its derivatives. Now the country, which wants to be called “Macedonia” wants to have exclusive rights on the name Macedonia and its derivatives. The danger in this is that The FYROM could find patrons and then it could very well claim all adjacent Macedonian territories with the Capital of Greek Macedonia, Thessaloniki, as its prize. That is why The FYROM’s inhabitants and their compatriots abroad insist on the ethnic name Macedonia, although prominent citizens of The FYROM admit they are Slavs.

    Slav inhabitants of the FYROM, what is interesting about the whole matter is that very few of them know their own history and even those who know it don’t want to say anything afraid for their safety or the stigma of being a “traitor.” What is more interesting is the fact that notable citizens of The FYROM, like the following, have acknowledged publicly that they are descendants of the first Slavic tribes.

    February 26, 1992: The FYROM’s President Kirov Gligorov, at an interview by the Foreign Information Service daily report, Eastern Europe, stated: “We are Slavs, who came to the region in the sixth century. We are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians.

    January 22, 1999: The FYROM’s Ambassador in Washington D.C., Mrs. Ljubica Acevska, gave a speech on the present situation in the Balkans, she stated: “We do not claim to be descendants of Alexander the Great. We are Slavs and we speak a Slavic language. Greece is The FYROM’s second largest trading partner and its number one “investor.”

    February 24, 1999: The FYROM.’s Ambassador to Canada, Gyordan Veselinov, in an interview with the “Ottawa Citizen”, he admitted: “We are not related to the northern Greeks who produced leaders like Philip and Alexander the Great. We are Slavs and our language is closely related to Bulgarian. There is some confusion about our identity.”

    December 29, 2001: Even recently, in an interview to Utrinski Vesnik of Skopje, the Foreign Minister of The FYROM Slobodan Casule said that he mentioned to the Foreign Minister of Bulgaria Solomon Pasi that they “belong to the same Slav people.”

    And yet nobody neither internally nor externally has asked “then what’s with the name Macedonia?” The only ones who believe they are descendants of the ancient Macedonians, are the ones who received their high degree of education from the “Titoic School of History” under the auspices of communist Yugoslavia.

    MACEDONIA is GREECE. Why Bulgaria is laughing at FYROM

  • September 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Greeks, Albanians & Bulgarians need to Rise up in a “United Front” against Slavs of FYROM in trying to steal the Name Macedonia and call themselves Macedonian. They are Bulgarian..and must share the land of FYROM with the Albanians..

    New name must be something agreed upon by both Bulgarians and Albanians.

    I suggest it be called “The SKOPJE – ILIRIDES Federation”

    MAP showing the True Makeup and Identity of FYROM:

  • September 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    FYROM Map of the Near Future..

    If Greece, Bulgaria & Albania Unite to force the name issue to a lasting settlement.

    FYROM has no leg to stand on to remain being called Macedonia.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *