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Old 12-23-2016, 05:23 AM   #1
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Default Alleged Human Rights "issues" of ethnic Albanians in Macedonia

Macedonia Albanians Mull Joint Platform for Govt Albanian political parties in Macedonia are mulling formation of a joint platform on key issues for the Albanian community as a precondition for participation in a new government.

- See more at: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/arti....PYm8vLxL.dpuf

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Menduh Thaci Quits as Macedonia Party Chief The longstanding head of the opposition Democratic Party Of Albanians, DPA, Menduh Thaci, has resigned as pary chief following dismal results in the December 11 election

. - See more at: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/arti....OQ9NCImZ.dpuf
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Old 12-26-2016, 11:16 AM   #2
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Macedonia Poll Re-run Fails to Resolve Power Battle
Sunday's election re-run in the village has not changed the final results in Macedonia's election as the verbal fight continues between the ruling and opposition party about who will form the next government.


Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje

Voting in Macedonia. Archive photo: MIA
Despite the victory of the opposition Social Democrats, SDSM, in the election re-run on Sunday in the village of Tearce in Macedonia, the number of seats that each bloc won in the December 11 elections remains the same. The ruling VMRO DPMNE party won 51 and the SDSM 49 in the 120-seat parliament.

The opposition won 245 votes in Tearce and the ruling party won just 150.
This was not enough to break the threshold, a difference of 304 votes, in the sixth electoral unit, where Tearce is located, that would have given both parties 50 seats.

Both parties have since reiterated they were the true victors in the elections and would therefore form the next government.

"This was a symbolic vote. The people of Tearce, like the rest of the Macedonian voters, opted for change and a better future, regardless of the pressures that were present," SDSM MP Petre Shilegov said. He added that the SDSM would go on to form the next government.

The ruling VMRO DPMNE party, which initially said it would boycott the re-run as an attempt to steal its victory, said the attempt had failed.

"As the [overall] winners in the elections we remain committed to the next steps in formation of a new government," the ruling party said in a press release.

To form a stable majority in parliament of at least 61 MPs, both main parties now need the support of one or preferably two of the ethnic Albanian parties that entered parliament.

At a meeting this weekend, the junior ruling party, the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI which won 10 seats, and the opposition Alliance for Albanians, led by the DPA - Movement for Reforms, which won three, agreed to the demands they would put to their bigger Macedonian counterparts.

These were official status for the Albanian language over the entire territory of Macedonia, the prolongation of the work of the Special Prosecution, which investigates high-level crime, action on EU-mandated reform priorities, a fair distribution of the state budget along ethnic lines and consensual decision-making on all important issues.

The DUI, which spent eight years in government with VMRO DPMNE, also hinted that it would not exclude talks on a government with the opposition SDSM.

The opposition Besa party, which won seven seats, and the Democratic Party of Albanians, DPA, which won two, declined the DUI's invitation for joint talks.
However, they hinted at similar demands, including a condition not to include any people in government who are being investigated by the Special Prosecution. This would eliminate the VMRO DPMNE leader, Nikola Gruevski.

Now the voting is finally over, parliament has until December 31 to hold its inaugural session.

President Gjorge Ivanov has until January 9 to hand over the mandate for formation of a new government to one of the two main party leaders, Nikola Gruevski or Zoran Zaev.

After one of them proves he has a majority in parliament, parliament has until February 16 to vote for the new government.

- See more at: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/arti....5zeH8vQB.dpuf

=============================

Macedonia Albanians Mull Joint Platform for Govt
Albanian political parties in Macedonia are mulling formation of a joint platform on key issues for the Albanian community as a precondition for participation in a new government.

Semra Musai
BIRN
Skopje

The junior ruling party in the last government, the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, which won 10 of the 120 seats in parliament in the December 11 polls, has said it will wait for the final official election results before inviting all the main ethnic Albanian parties to discuss a common platform.

“First we will negotiate with the Albanian parties and afterwards with the Macedonian parties,” DUI spokesperson Bujar Osmani said.

The official results should be known after Sunday's re-run in one polling station, which could change the overall election result by potentially evening out the number of seats won by the main ruling VMRO DPMNE party and main opposition Social Democratic Union, SDSM.

A new Albanian party, Besa Movement, which won five seats in the elections and so became the second biggest party in the Albanian bloc, said it had not received any offer from the DUI as yet.

“We have not had any invitation [from the DUI]. We have our platform and goals over which we are ready to cooperate with every political party in Macedonia,” Bilall Kasami, the head of Besa, said on Thursday.

Ziadin Sela, head of the DPA - Movement for Reforms, said it was a historic chance to unite on a platform which would advance the position of all Albanians who make up about a quarter of the population of the country.
DPA - Movement for Reforms won three seats in the election.

“The DUI should invite all [Albanian] party leaders to a joint table so we can act mutually and impose [demands] on the Macedonian bloc. It is a historic moment for us to solve some open issues that are important for Albanians,” Sela told Alsat TV.

Ethnic Albanian parties in Macedonia appear to hold the key to the formation of a new government that will need the support of at least 61 of the 120 MPs in parliament.
VMRO DPMNE and the SDSM have 51 and 49 seats respectively, if Sunday's election re-run in one polling station does not change the result.

Many observers have called on Albanians parties to be careful about committing themselves to a new government, if they want to advance the Albanian agenda in the country.

The DUI’s platform for the new government calls for Albanian to be made an official language on the entire territory of the country. Albanian is currently an official language only in those areas where Albanians make up a significant proportion of the population.

The DUI also seeks decision-making based on ethnic consensus in every institution, including parliament, as well as economic equality for Albanians, meaning a proportional division of the country's budget along ethnic lines.

Other requests are to prolong the mandate of the Special Prosecutor, a body formed last year to investigate high-level crime.

Besa also has three preconditions for the new government and says it will not join any government containing politicians who are in any way incriminated or even suspected of offences by the Special Prosecutor.

Besa also wants a redefinition of the juridical and constitutional system of the country, and says any new agreement on a government coalition must be transparent.

DPA - Movement for Reforms is committed to what it calls a bi-national state as well as a law making the Albanian language official throughout the entire country and equal allocation of budget funds.

The Democratic Party of Albanians, DPA, which won only two seats, has not clarified its position although its leader has indicated it will support Besa's negotiating positions.

Peter Vanhoutte , an EU expert engaged in the negotiations between the country's main four parties on the so-called Przino Agreement, called on Albanian parties not to participate once again in a government where they risk being “completely sidelined”.

"Yes, you had some Ministers and even a deputy Prime Minister. But for all important decisions, you were overruled by your coalition partner,” Vanhoutte stressed, addressing the past experience of the DUI.

Observers say the ruling VMRO DPMNE party of former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski will have a harder time negotiating terms with Albanian parties this time, as so much of its election campaign focused on chanelling anti-Albanian sentiment.

The SDSM on the other hand at these elections for the first time in Macedonian history attracted the votes of tens of thousands of Albanians, calling for unification against VMRO DPMNE whom they accused of authoritarian rule.

- See more at: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/arti....XvIH4PPi.dpuf

========================

Killings Case Unresolved After 13 Years

Defendants in the politically-charged Sopot case, in which ethnic Albanian villagers are accused of planting a mine that killed NATO soldiers in 2003, are hoping a new investigation will establish their innocence.


Sase Dimovski BIRN Skopje

The location where a landmine killed NATO soldiers and a civilian in 2003. Archive photo.
Eleven residents of the north-eastern village of Sopot who are being retried for allegedly planting a mine in 2003 that killed two Polish NATO soldiers and one Macedonian civilian are hoping that the case will be transferred to the new Special Prosecution, SJO, and that a fresh investigation will be launched which could exonerate them.

The initial hearing in their retrial at Skopje's Criminal Court was postponed yet again on Tuesday this week, following the postponement of four other hearings earlier this year. Only two preparatory hearings have taken place so far.

After the latest postponement, some of the defendants, who insist they are innocent, told media that they were fed up with waiting.

"We are tired. We have been going through courts and prisons for 13 years. I don't know what to say. I hope that justice will prevail," said one of them, Shakir Sulejmani.

"This postponement has a political background. I hope that after the formation of the new government [after the December 11 elections], the case will start again from the beginning. I also hope that the SJO will take this case," said another defendant, Shaban Limani.

The reason given for the latest postponement was that the organised crime prosecutor did not appear in court but Naser Raufi, the lawyer for most of the defendants, said he thought that was because the SJO would take over the case.

"That's why the prosecutor from the organised crime prosecution, which has led the case so far, did not appear," Raufi told BIRN.

The SJO, which was set up last year to investigate alleged high-level crimes which came to light in wiretapped conversations between top officials which were released in early 2015, formally asked to take over the case on November 4.

It said that it should take case because top officials mention it in the wiretaps, which could shed new light on the crime.

In one of the wiretapped conversations that the opposition Social Democrats released last year, what were alleged to be the voices of the then Interior Minister, Gordana Jankuloska and then Secret Police chief, Saso Mijalkov could be heard talking about the case.

In the conversation, Jankuloska allegedly suggests to Mijalkov that then Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski should be consulted about how to proceed with this sensitive case and both seem to acknowledge that the previous conviction of the villagers rests on very thin evidence.

Despite a legal obligation for the regular organised crime prosecution to hand over the case within eight days after being asked to do so by the SJO, it instead handed it over to the Prosecutors’ Council, which has yet to discuss who should be in charge of it.

Initially, the head of the Prosecutor's Council, Petar Anevski, who presides over the body that elects and dismisses prosecutors, insisted that the SJO cannot have the case since the alleged crimes happened in 2003, much earlier than the timeframe of 2008-2015 in which the SJO has a mandate to investigate.

But after the SJO reminded Anevski that "we have the right to investigate criminal acts that that took place before 2008, if there is evidence found among the illegal wiretaps", Anevski retracted and said that he will set a session of the Prosecutors’ Council on the issue by the end of this year.

The mine explosion in Sopot happened in 2003 when Macedonia was still recovering from the 2001 armed conflict between ethnic Albanian insurgents and the security forces.

After a prolonged trial, 12 defendants were originally sentenced in March 2010 to a total of 150 years in jail, but after ethnic Albanian political parties complained, a parliamentary commission decided that there were some omissions during the trial.

The parliamentary commission's decision rested on a claim by one of the defendants, Ramadan Bajrami that his confession was extorted after alleged police torture. This resulted in the court granting a new trial, which was originally supposed to start in 2011.

By 2016, one of the original 12 defendants had died.

Ethnic Albanian political parties have criticised the case as an example of injustice against Albanians in Macedonia.

The next court hearing is scheduled for February 2017 but it remains to be seen whether the SJO will have taken over the case by then, and whether it will order a fresh investigation.


http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/arti...ars-12-22-2016
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Old 12-28-2016, 11:43 PM   #3
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Interesting debate with Ziadin Sela on Alsat -M
(With Macedonian subtitles)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TotWTrhIhHE
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Old 01-01-2017, 08:37 AM   #4
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Macedonian Albanian Leaders Plot Joint Strategy in Tirana

Heads of three of the four parties representing Macedonia's large ethnic Albanian community met in Tirana and expressed the need to seize the moment in Macedonia and agree on demands.


Albanian PM Edi Rama and the leaders of Albanian parties in Macedonia. Photo: Rama Facebook page
Representatives of three of the four main Macedonian Albanian parties met Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama and Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati in Tirana on Thursday.

The meeting comes at a time when Albanian MPs in Macedonia's parliament are considered a likely key factor in the formation of the next government there, following an election in which the two main blocs emerged with similar numbers of seats.

The leader the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, Ali Ahmeti, the chairman of the Besa movement, Bilal Kasami, and the leader of the Movement for Reform - Democratic Party of Albanians, LR PDSH, Ziadin Sela, were accompanied but other party members at the meeting with Rama and Bushati.

The leader of Besa also acted as an informal representative in the meeting for the two MPs from the Democratic Party of Albanians, DPA.
After DPA chairman Menduh Thaci resigned following the election in Macedonia, he asked Besa to represent his MPs.

Rama published pictures from the meeting on Facebook accompanied by the caption "Brotherly", suggesting that the meeting was held in the spirit of fraternal goodwill.

No other statement or press release was issued about the meeting by the Albanian government, however.
Despite that, it is assumed that the core of the discussions concerned the need for Macedonian Albanians to use this post-election moment and agree on a joint platform designed to improve the status and conditions of their fellow Albanians in Macedonia.
Albanians make up around 25 per cent of the population of Macedonia but have long felt marginalised.

LR PDSH chief Ziadin Sela told Ora News TV after the meeting that the time was ripe to demand more rights.
He said the 20 ethnic Albanian MPs in parliament in Skopje should agree on key conditions for taking part in government, starting with making the Albanian language official throughout the country, not only in areas where Albanians are numerous.

"The way the budget is divided between the communities in the country should also be fair," he said.
Albanian-language media outlets in Macedonia have been circulating a draft of a platform that it was thought was discussed in the meeting with Rama.
The draft has not been confirmed by the Albanian government or by the Albanian party leaders in Macedonia as an official set of demands.
However, it too emphasized language rights, national symbols and the demand for economic parity in Macedonia.

In the December election in Macedonia, the Social Democratic Union, SDSM, emerged with 49 seats and the nationalist VMRO DPMNE party with 51. Each bloc needs one or more partners from the Albanian community to achieve a majority of 61 in the 120-seat assembly.

- See more at: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/arti....ViHrShSy.dpuf
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:15 PM   #5
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Albanians - nothing but pawns in the grand scheme of things. Do they not realise it still?
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:22 PM   #6
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Albanians - nothing but pawns in the grand scheme of things. Do they not realise it still?
Rewarded pawns. I think they might not care.
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Old 01-02-2017, 06:19 PM   #7
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Yes, but history won't forget. I guess this is not the first time they've been used like this - see the birth of greece.

What will happen when they are no longer the "flavour of the month"?
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Old 01-03-2017, 05:03 AM   #8
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On the above topic about Albanians being pawns.. I guess yes its true.. But I believe a country needs to look at its actual size, influence and ability to be anything else when we talking about the region.

Nobody wants to be a pawn but when certain historical circumstances have made you a pawn (like it or not) you need to play the pawn card to the best of your ability and gain the most you can from it..

If you play the pawn card right you might one day find yourself becoming maybe a more important price on the chess board .. This takes time sacrifice and a hit on your ego..but in the long run your aim of becoming more relevant and influential will come.

This is where I believe Albanians leaders have played the regional geopolitical game better than most other balkan nations. All Albanians know that the west really couldn't give a crap about us .. but.. we paly the game and hope to be rewarded (eg. Albania in NATO, Kosovo Independent) - Although it takes a hit to your ego at times in the long run small nations don't have much of a choice in the larger scheme of things.

All pawns aspire to be a Kings .. and all kings originate from pawns!
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Old 01-04-2017, 03:26 AM   #9
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I guess its a matter of opinion, but if you think it was wrong and against the national interest to:

- Not recognize your neighboring country to whom many Macedonian farmers sell their agricultural products to (which would otherwise most likely rot and be left unsold),

- Kosovos second largest import trading partner is Macedonia.


- Macedonia has declared that it is working towards EU/Nato Membership- when the leading countries of these organizations have recognized Kosovo and follow an agenda to bring Kosovo closer to one day join the EU /NATO how was Macedonia supposed to justify that it seeks to join the EU/ NATO but doesn't agree on their neighbors to the north doing so,

Should Macedonian follow Countries like the Greece,Serbia and Cyprus who don't recognize kosovo or Countries like Germany, UK, USA who may not have not always delt with the region ideally but have invested in the region more than alternative non-recognizing block.?

- Also there would have been pressure from the Albanian parties to push for recognition as a key issue when forming a coalition government.

Overall until (or if) Macedonia was to change its official geopolitical position (as it seems to maybe doing) away from EU/NATO Membership it only makes sense Economically, politically and stability wise to recognize Kosovo...

I'm sure most of you probably wouldn't ageee.. but can you showme how not recognising Kosovo would outweigh the benefits?
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:00 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Albo View Post
I guess its a matter of opinion, but if you think it was wrong and against the national interest to:

- Not recognize your neighboring country to whom many Macedonian farmers sell their agricultural products to (which would otherwise most likely rot and be left unsold),

- Kosovos second largest import trading partner is Macedonia.


- Macedonia has declared that it is working towards EU/Nato Membership- when the leading countries of these organizations have recognized Kosovo and follow an agenda to bring Kosovo closer to one day join the EU /NATO how was Macedonia supposed to justify that it seeks to join the EU/ NATO but doesn't agree on their neighbors to the north doing so,

Should Macedonian follow Countries like the Greece,Serbia and Cyprus who don't recognize kosovo or Countries like Germany, UK, USA who may not have not always delt with the region ideally but have invested in the region more than alternative non-recognizing block.?

- Also there would have been pressure from the Albanian parties to push for recognition as a key issue when forming a coalition government.

Overall until (or if) Macedonia was to change its official geopolitical position (as it seems to maybe doing) away from EU/NATO Membership it only makes sense Economically, politically and stability wise to recognize Kosovo...

I'm sure most of you probably wouldn't ageee.. but can you showme how not recognising Kosovo would outweigh the benefits?
Those are all fine political points that have been made. I think the biggest argument against recognzing Kosovo is that doing so rewards and legitimarizes the actions of people using violence to pursue their goals, not only as the KLA did in Kosovo, but as in northwest Macedonia as well.

Still, if Greece is an example, how can they justify being a member of the EU when they didn't even recognize their neighbors to the north, and still don't recognize them under their name? We see very well that you can still maintain western support even when you don't tow the line.

Further, it shows that recognIzing Kosovo didn"t help quiet or appease Albanians in Macedonia. Instead, there are now two growing movements: one for federalization and one for autonomy. So in the end, it may not have been in Macedonia's best interest. I could care less for Serbia's sake whether or not they have Kosovo, but in honesty, they lost it many years ago through poor policies.
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