Albanian Leaders React to Macedonian Crisis

The political crisis that has engulfed Macedonia after President Gjorgje Ivanov refused to give a mandate to SDSM leader Zoran Zaev to form a government coalition with the Albanian minority parties, has not gone unnoticed by Albanian politicians.

President Ivanov refused to give Zaev a mandate because of his “foreign platform,” referring to the Tirana Agreement signed by the Albanian minority parties at the instigation of Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, which proposes to make Albanian a national language in Macedonia. Rama’s initiative, intended to raise his own profile as regional patron of the Albanian minorities, is now used as an argument by Ivanov to block Zaev’s coalition and has plunged the neighboring country into a deep crisis.

Prime Minister Rama responded ironically through his preferred medium, Facebook:

Mr. Ivanov, the Albanian language is not of the enemy but of a constitutive people in Macedonia. Without Albanian there is no Macedonia, dear President!

Speaker of Parliament Ilir Meta:

I encourage all the political forces in our neighboring country for tranquility, responsibility, and constructiveness. I wish also to express my disappointment about the nationalist, anti-Albanian rhetoric which threatens the inter-ethnic harmony and cohabitation – as guarantee for the stability of our neighbor.

PD leader Lulzim Basha:

I consider this position an act of ethnic discrimination that does not contribute to the harmony between the constitutive ethnicities of Macedonia. Macedonia’s stability and road to integration is heavily threatened by such discriminatory acts. The acceptance of bilingualism emancipates Macedonia from crises and prejudices and broadens that space of freedom by enforcing its own foundations.