The Macedonian Tendency: Macedonia violence unlikely despite protests

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Macedonia violence unlikely despite protests

I agree with this analysis. Albanians will only try to destabilize Macedonia if they can get the aid of the US and the EU. Right now, the US/EU are occupied with Iraq, Lebanon and Syria and Iran ... you get the idea. I disagree with Deliso's depiction of the election as one between pro-Western and Ant-Western forces. Both coalitions want join the EU and Nato.

Macedonia violence unlikely despite protests

Following elections that brought a pro-Western, pro-market government to power, Macedonia’s future seems promising. But an ethnic Albanian party that feels itself unfairly excluded could cause headaches.

By Christopher Deliso in Skopje for ISN Security Watch (18/08/06)

Since the incumbent coalition was ousted in Macedonia’s 5 July parliamentary elections, the major security concern has been the potential for future violence from the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), excluded from the new government.

Holding road blockades and increasing inflammatory rhetoric in public speeches, the party has warned that future interethnic stability is at risk. However, Western officials directly involved with overseeing Macedonia’s development agree that the new government should be given a chance to show what it can achieve - and that armed violence will not be tolerated.

Led by former rebel leader Ali Ahmeti, the DUI claims that it automatically deserves to be part of the new government because it won a majority of the minority Albanian vote. However, Macedonia is not an ethnic federation, and as in similar European democracies, the party that wins the most seats in parliament has the unconditional mandate to form the government. In this case, is it the center-right VMRO-DPMNE party of former finance minister Nikola Gruevski that has that mandate. At least 61 MPs from Macedonia's 120-seat parliament are needed for a new government.

In the election, Gruevski’s coalition topped all by taking 45 seats, uniting with other parties afterward to achieve a total of 65 seats. These included VMRO-DPMNE’s traditional Albanian coalition partner, the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA), which won 11 seats and the New Social Democratic Party (NSDP) of veteran politician Tito Petkovski, which won six.

In comparison, the incumbent Social Democrats (SDSM) won 32 seats and the Albanian coalition of the DUI and the Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP) managed 17 together, with 14 for the DUI - only slightly more than the DPA’s 11.

And while the DUI claimed that it represented “the will of the Albanian people,” under 50 percent of the Albanian electorate actually voted. International and local monitors claimed that violence and fraud were widespread in key regions.

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