Writes: Bardhyl Zaimi
It seems that the constitutional changes envisioned by the Prespa Agreement will prolong the summer “heat” in November. The government, meanwhile, said it had drafted amendments to these changes. Reformulation in the preamble caused reactions. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev announced that the Ohrid Agreement will be included in the preamble. DUI officials called this inclusion a success for their leader, Ali Ahmeti.
Earlier, the opposition parties, the Alliance of Albanians and Besa, submitted amendments to the constitutional amendments, which were said to advance the legal and political status of the Albanians in Macedonia. With the changes announced by these parties, the aim was to change the definition of “20 percent”, which means the Albanians, as well as the officialisation of the Albanian language.
The public was talking about a conditioning that could happen for the approval of the constitutional amendments, provided by the Prespa Agreement. But over time, representatives of the Albanian opposition parties explained that it was not a matter of conditioning, but an attempt to persuade other MPs of the obligation to define Albanians in the constitution not as a “percentage” but by the term “Albanians”.
Zijadin Sela’s Alliance of Albanians has already launched a campaign on social networks called “Do not call me 20%, I’m Albanian”. It seems that through this campaign, this party wants to sensitize its party position during the parliamentary debate on constitutional changes, demanding that Albanians be included in the constitution under the term “Albanians”, and not as a percentage.
Probably the debate and antagonisms between political parties in the Albanian political bloc will take place around two political premises: about the inclusion of the Ohrid Agreement in the preamble and the insistence on re-formulating the “20 percent” in the Constitution.
Regardless of party positioning, this formulation remains a problem in itself, emphasized all the time by the protagonists of public life among Albanians. Opposition parties insist that this is a problematic definition, and some protagonists in the public life of Albanians have called it “offensive definition for Albanians”. Certainly this will open up a debate about this sensitive issue for the Albanians within a well-argued and comprehensive dialogue. At a time when Macedonia enters into another flow paradigm, which implies ethnic, linguistic and cultural pluralism, reformulation that implies the presence of Albanians in the Constitution can only strengthen their better political and state identification, so constitutional loyalty would bring much more substantial social cohesion. However, the politics has always the final say, which is not always ready to close issues that are considered to be able to create a normal and multi-ethnic functional state.
The inclusion of the Ohrid Agreement in the preamble and the idea of reformulating the “presence of the Albanians” in the Constitution will be the two political positions that will mark the debate in the Parliament. Probably the government and the opposition in the Albanian political bloc, based on these two orientations, will also build the party causes, regardless of the epilogue of their “success”.
The demands of the opposition from the Albanian political bloc we considered by Prime Minister Zaev as “too ambitious”. He also stressed that “the Pandora’s box cannot be opened more”. Meanwhile, Zaev has aligned the positions with the group of MPs removed by VMRO-DPMNE, on the draft amendments that are expected to be voted in Parliament regarding the change of the name.
Meanwhile, the Macedonian opposition VMRO-DPMNE has announced a strategy for opposing constitutional changes. Party leader Hristijan Mickoski emphasized that the approval of the assembly comes quite unexpectedly, stressing that it is not envisaged to discuss the Ohrid Agreement. However, he announced a fierce opposition from the party he leads. “I expect fierce criticism of everything that will be proposed by the government’s majority and the Government, and within the discussion of the commission, and then within the parliamentary discussion by the MPs of VMRO-DPMNE”, stressed Mickoski.
November will probably be the month of “hot” party quarrels. And when politics speaks, the voice of reason and the well-argued thought are slowly lost somewhere on the margins!
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