News 06 Sep 12

Macedonian Army Law Reveals Ethnic Split Among MPs

A debate in parliament over a controversial law on armed forces exposed predictable divisions between ethnic Macedonians who support it and Albanians who oppose it.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Monument in Skopje honoring the fallen members of the armed forces during 2001 | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

The law, put forward by the main ruling VMRO DPMNE party, concerns the rights of members of the Macedonian armed forces who fought in the 2001 armed conflict, and their families.

The draft law has angered ethnic Albanian parties, which either want the same rights extended to former Albanian guerrilla fighters and their families in the 2001 conflict - or the bill dropped altogether.

The government's own junior coalition partner, the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, also opposes the bill, putting the government stability in question.

At Wednesday’s session of parliament, a VMRO DPMNE legislator, Vele Gjorgievski, insisted that the law's aim was “to make a real step forward towards [ethnic] reconciliation” and to “amend the historic injustice made towards the defenders [of the country], among whom there were also Albanians”.

But this statement was ridiculed by ethnic Albanian legislators.

“I never heard an explanation so full of rubbish,” Zeljadin Sela, from the opposition Democratic Party of Albanians, DPA, said.

He added that this "anti-Albanian" draft was fast uniting all Albanian forces in the country against it.

Xhevad Ademi, from the DUI, agreed that the law had divided Macedonian legislators on ethnic lines.

“This will be a long and exhausting battle but at the end the Albanians will win it,” Ademi predicted.

Another DUI legislator, Arben Ljabenista, called both the draft and their partner party’s explanations for it “miserable” and “cowardly”.

The country's biggest opposition party, the Social Democrats, SDSM said that in principle it supported the law.

Radmila Shekerinska of the SDSM said that the law was not intended against ethnic Albanians.

But she also said that responsibility for re-kindling ethnic tensions in the country lay with the government of Nikola Gruevski.

The DUI has previously threatened to block the work of the parliament by submitting hundreds of amendments, and possibly leave the government, if VMRO DPMNE keeps pushing for the law.

After being discussed in commissions, the law is to be put before a plenary session of parliament next week.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Analysis 26 May 16

Vojislav Seselj Seeks Political Resurrection in Bosnia

News 25 May 16

Croatian Culture Minister Slams ‘Smear Campaign’

News 24 May 16

Croatian Govt Urged to Sack ‘Extremist’ Minister

News 23 May 16

Serbia’s Nazi-Backed Leader ‘Did Not Kill Jews’

News 23 May 16

Bosnia Fines Football Clubs for Nationalist Chants

News 19 May 16

Bosniak, Croat War Veterans Rally for Higher Pensions

News 16 May 16

Vojislav Seselj to Run for Serbian Presidency

Feature 13 May 16

1990 Football Riot Becomes National Myth in Croatia

News 13 May 16

Sarajevo Museum to Preserve Wartime Childhood Memories



Serb Minority Rights Scripted Out in Croatia

The muted response to the Croatian town of Vukovar’s decision to scrap controversial bilingual signs in Latin and Serb Cyrillic script suggests the EU has lost focus on minority rights, analysts claimed.

Croatian Dissident Feared Kidnap by Yugoslav Spies

The trial of Zdravko Mustac and Josip Perkovic, former Yugoslav spy chiefs accused of killing a Croatian émigré, heard that the victim repeatedly told his German lover that he was living in fear.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter