IS THE MACEDONIAN SUN GOING TO SHINE?

The International Institute for Inter-Religious, Multiethnic and Middle-East Studies (IFIMES) in Ljubljana constantly analyses events in the regions of the Balkans and the Middle East. The most interesting sections of the comprehensive analysis of events in Macedonia are given below.

The International Institute for Inter-Religious, Multiethnic and Middle-East Studies (IFIMES) in Ljubljana constantly analyses events in the regions of the Balkans and the Middle East. The most interesting sections of the comprehensive analysis of events in Macedonia are given below.

After the Republic of Macedonia gained independence in the early nineties it seemed the country would avoid conflicts, especially those based on ethnic grounds. The Macedonian government of the nineties, which was - like the present government - burdened with the communist past in several respects, believed it would once for ever freeze the harmful ethnic virus. However, it turned out that the virus survived and that the government prognoses became ironical.
The Albanians, as the majority ethnic population in the western part of the country, started to organise themselves politically and to take actions establishing the PDP political party (Party of Democratic Prosperity). PDP had no sophisticated political party program, and it could not have had it if we take into account the intellectual and social (political) awareness of Albanians which was on the margins at the time. The Albanians wanted to become a political factor in Macedonia. In 1994, PDP won the trust of 21% of voters from the total electoral body in Macedonia. The failure of Macedonians and their government to deal with the problems of ethnic minorities resulted in the emergence of a new political party of Albanians in Macedonia called DPA (Democratic Party of Albanians) which was more radical in comparison with PDP, especially regarding human rights and freedoms and the process of integration in the vital national structures in Macedonia. The political and ideological magic wand did not work and eventually the Albanians, emotionally moved with the ideology, took over the action into their hands. There was a culmination of Albanian radicalism in view of achieving their own goals without any understanding of other ethnic minorities in Macedonia, i.e. the Turks, Macedonian Muslims (Torbesi), Romanies etc. This sociological turbulence, which was raging through Macedonia, resulted in the war in the west part of the country in 2001. Armed Albanians withdrew to the mountains forming para-military groups supported by the Albanian mafia, the diaspora and powerful lobbies from across the Atlantic Ocean.
After the war ended, former combatants sponsored by their political mentors formed a political party called the DUI (Democratic Union for Integration). This time the Albanians, having learnt by previous mistakes which they paid dearly not integrating and participating with the other ethnicities in Macedonia, decided to cooperate and actively integrate in their own ranks of intellectuals as well as to collaborate with the other ethnic communities such as the Turks and Macedonian Muslims. The Turks in Macedonia have in addition to co-operation with the Albanians established their own political party which had been marginalized until the Republic of Turkey interfered through its embassy in Skopje. All these activities resulted in the TDP (Turkish Democratic Party) or the Turkish minority having three deputies in the Macedonian parliament, one ambassador and Counsellor to the Minister of Economy.
DUI is currently the most influential Albanian political party in Macedonia. According to its program determination it is oriented towards the Euro-Atlantic Integrations and acts on the principles of liberal democracy.
During the pre-election campaigns, the DUI leaders advocated the union of two entities in Macedonia alluding to the current Dayton solution in Bosnia and Herzegovina which proved to be useful for stopping the war but not for the functioning of a stable and modern state. The post-Dayton development of Bosnia and Herzegovina has already shown that ethnic political organisation can not ensure the consensus for the development of the state and its integration in the Euro-Atlantic Integrations. DUI can be described according to the representative of the party, Gezim Ostreni, who said at a press briefing in Tetovo in 2001: "DUI is the party for all those who consider themselves deprived in the Republic of Macedonia." Their alleged flexibility, adaptability and understanding of different views and interests articulated in a multi-ethnic political reality of Macedonia was confirmed by a deputy from the DUI coming from the Turkish ethnic minority as well as by a deputy form the ethnic minority of Macedonian Muslims. This is the first case of the affirmation of non-Albanians in the Albanian political party in Macedonia. The DUI has 16 deputies in the Macedonian parliament of the total 26 Albanian deputies. Seven Albanian deputies come from DPA which is the second party according to its influence among the Albanians. From the other Albanian political parties, there are two deputies from the PDP (Party of Democratic Prosperity) and one deputy from NDP (National Democratic Party).
The present leading coalition composed of SDSM (Social Democratic Union of Macedonia) and DUI is facing the pressure of international as well as domestic public in relation to achieving consensus regarding the development of international relations which are relevant even for the existence of Macedonia as a state. Since the political demagogies of ethnic national policy are not to be relied upon, the conclusion of events in Macedonia will depend on the pace of integration of Macedonia in the Euro-Atlantic Integrations and on the support that the USA offer to the states in the Balkan region. This is even more significant due to the unfavourable attitude of Macedonia's neighbouring countries.
The IFIMES International Institute believes that the Republic of Macedonia has to continue to be actively involved in the development of sound international relations – taking into account that it is a very complicated multinational, multireligious and multicultural society. The leading Macedonian and Albanian parties play a special role in developing such relations. In the same way as the DUI included representatives of other ethnic communities in the region, the Macedonian parties should include the representatives of ethnic communities of Serbs, Bulgarians, Greeks and others since only the integration of minority communities based on human rights and freedoms in the social life of Macedonia and the economic development can create the conditions for stability and prosperity of Macedonia. The Macedonian sun will then shine again.
The IFIMES International Institute is of the opinion that the government of the Republic of Macedonia may face additional destabilisation of the state and the escalation of military conflict supported by the plans to establish an ethnic Albania. This is further aggravated by the coming political crisis in Belgrade and the weakened Macedonian state. Destabilisation of Macedonia will enable the so called Balkan mafia to operate undisturbedly and to gain enormous profit. Its interest in Macedonia has further increased after the assassination of the Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić, since the present Serbian authority is going to undertake a series of actions in order to prevent the functioning of mafia in Serbia, which had been thriving undisturbedly until now.



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