Ethnic Albanians Demand Macedonia PM’s Resignation, ‘Redefinition of State’

Southeast Europe | June 14, 2015, Sunday // 10:57|  views

Ethnic Albanians wave Albanian flags and shout anti-government slogans during a protest against Macedonia’s government coalition in Skopje, 13 May 2015. EPA/BGNES

About 2,000 ethnic Albanians marched in Macedonia’s capital, Skopje, on Saturday, demanding redefinition of their status and the resignation of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, newswires reported.

The marchers also called for the resignation of Gruevsi's junior government coalition partner, the ethnic Albanian DUI led by Ali Ahmeti, to open the way for early elections.

The Associated Press quoted Skender Rexhepi, a senior official of one of the organizers, as saying that Macedonia needs "a new agreement of all citizens" that will "open a...redefinition of the state where Albanians are a constituent element, equal with Macedonians."

Ethnic Albanians make up about a quarter of Macedonia’s population of about two million.  The rally has been organized by a new political movement, Besa, according to DPA.

The march could increase pressure on Gruevski to step down by adding momentum to anti-government protests led by the leader of main opposition Social Democrats Zoran Zaev.

Zaev accuses Gruevski of abusing power. The prime minister denies the wire-tapping and corruption allegations leveledde against him by Zaev.

Macedonia was rocked by anti-government protests last month which were followed by a deadly attack in Kumanovo which claimed the lives of eight police officers.

Gruevski, Zaev, Ahmeti and the leader of ethnic Albanian party DPA Menduh Thaci agreed after EU-brokered talks on 2 June to hold early elections by April 2016 in an attempt to resolve the country’s political crisis.

A follow-up meeting in Brussels earlier this week however failed to produce a final agreement.


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Tags: macedonia, ethnic Albanians, Gruevski, Ahmeti, Zaev, march


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