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Macedonia at political crossroads

By Xhuljo Ferzaj

Three months have passed and the government still hasn’t been formed. This is the result of the anti-Albanian positions held by Nikola Gruevski during the negotiations with the Albanian parties. He demanded a change of the platform, fundamental principles, and undeniable rights that have been denied for years on end. The foundations of the Macedonian state cannot remain without the collaboration with and respect of the fundamental rights of the Albanians. No politician can deny that they have made an undeniable contribution and are a stabilizing factor.

What would have happened had there been an agreement between Gruevski and Ahmeti? Certainly there would be a government. Maybe its stability would be short-lived and the common platform of the Albanian parties would encounter obstacles in its implementation. A situation similar to the Ohrid agreement could repeat itself, where the rights of the Albanian would only be guaranteed no paper, but wouldn’t be realized because of the nationalism of the state. Gruevski would play any type of political game to counter such a platform.

But now the time has come that Nikola Gruevski is held accountable for the crimes that he committed. He is responsible for the incident in Kumanovo. He is a russophile that has brought political and economic damage to the Macedonians and Albanians. Gruevski has obstructed the integration process, for years on end, and not without aim. Thanks to the anti-Albanian and therefore anti-Macedonian Nikola Gruevski the influence of Russia has gained ground. He has damaged the interests of his country by concluding agreements with Russia in many key sectors of the country. So the consequences of another Gruevski government would be long-term.

Another serious obstacle is President Gjorgje Ivanov, who opposes the creation of a coalition between Zoran Zaev and Albanian parties. His decision risks a destabilization and a constitutional crisis of the country for another couple of months. He is a president and must respect the constitution and must not violate its basic principles, the creation of a government. A president cannot hold press conferences where he begs for the rejection of the Albanian platform, this is violation of universal human rights. He should answer in front of the court and stop facilitating the continuation of crisis.

President Ivanov must give a mandate for Zoran Zaev and the Albanian parties. The president cannot serve the former Prime Minister Gruevski but he must decree the creation of a new government. The Macedonian future depends on it. His only shows the adversity expressed toward the Albanians in the past.

The new government should be cautious and stay away from mistakes of previous government, which has kept Macedonia in a crossroad between the West and Russia. The future of this country shouldn’t be Russia but the European-Atlantic integration. Russia has heavily invested in Macedonia but that doesn’t mean the country should remain a Russian protectorate. This chapter must be closed so that factors of destabilization could be eliminated for Macedonia.

The new government must pull the country out of this situation, and must invest in the creation of stability, for a common future without ethnic discrimination. This could happen only when Zoran Zaev and the Albanian parties establish a government that will bring change to Macedonia and will ameliorate the rights of Albanians and the opening of a new chapter.

The new government must undertake serious justice reforms. Only in this way we can create a European Macedonia.

The new government should pull the country out of this chaos and work to improve the inter-ethnic relations. The Albanians make for 30 percent of the population of Macedonia and their rights cannot be ignored. On the contrary, they must be grateful of the Albanian contribution. Investments should be fairly distributed and differences shouldn’t be felt in areas with an Albanian population, which usually have poorer services and reduced infrastructure. The government must understand that a respect for Albanian rights is a contribution to a calmer Macedonia, free from inter-ethnic conflicts.

Xhuljo Ferzaj is a researcher and analyst based in Albania. He holds a MSc in International Relations. 

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