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Albanians From Macedonia Cross Ethnic Lines to Vote Against Ruling Parties

Albanian and Macedonian flag joined at anti-fascist protest in Skopje on October 11, 2016. Photo by Vančo Džambaski, CC BY-NC-SA.

Albanian and Macedonian flag joined at anti-fascist protest in Skopje on October 11, 2016. Photo by Vančo Džambaski, CC BY-NC-SA.

A very un-Balkan thing happened during the Macedonian election. Instead of voting for ‘their’ ethnic parties, many ethnic Albanians decided to vote for the opposition Social Democrats (SDSM), who recently re-branded themselves as more multi-ethnic.

Currently, Macedonia is going through the tumultuous process of forming a new government after parliamentary elections on 11 December. The initial election results are controversial — and contested — so it's uncertain which party will have more members of parliament in the end. Nevertheless, even though the ruling parties seem to have a slight lead, it is evident that their support has dropped dramatically in comparison to previous elections.

This is a historical moment for the people of Macedonia, especially for the Albanian community, who for the first time gave a significant number of votes to a political party in opposition that had been previously considered to be ‘ethnic Macedonian.’ Ethnicity plays a big role in Macedonian politics, and Albanians are the country's second-largest ethnic community. But this time around, SDSM included ethnic Albanians in its lists of candidates for members of parliament, opened local offices and held rallies in predominantly ethnic Albanian municipalities.

However, many Albanians did still vote for the ethnic Albanian political party Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), which seems to have won 10 parliamentary mandates. DUI is one of the ruling parties, and has maintained a stable government coalition — dominated by the ethnic Macedonian VMRO-DPMNE — since 2008. However, the projected number of DUI members of parliament falls well below the 19 achieved during the 2014 elections, which was before the coalition became mired in numerous scandals revealed by a series of leaked wiretapped conversations of journalists, opposition members, members of government and more.

Edited photo of Nikola Gruevski widelly used on social media to promote the petition.

Edited photo of Nikola Gruevski widely used on social media to promote the petition.

The recordings were done reportedly on the order of ex-Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who is the current leader of VMRO-DPMNE. Some ethnic Albanian citizens of Macedonia started an online petition on December 14 in order to tell the Albanian political parties to say “NO” to VMRO-DPMNE and Gruevski when it comes to forming a government. The petition gained several hundred votes in a few hours, and had been shared on social media.

VMRO-DPMNE also stoked Albanian anger during the election campaign for using “coded” hate speech against Albanians — another big reason why some in the community don't want Albanian political parties to work with VMRO-DPMNE.

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  • Michael Danias

    the quicker they give the Albanians what they want with their official language demands the better off this so called country will be. The social democrats should form a coalition with the Albanian parties and rid them of the irredentist and corrupt VMRO-DPMNE party. Name change should be demanded by the EU and Slavic culture should be promoted again. “We are Macedonians but we are Slav Macedonians. That’s who we are! We have no connection to Alexander the Great and his Macedonia. The ancient Macedonians no longer exist, they had disappeared from history long time ago. Our ancestors came here in the 5th and 6th century (AD).” Kiro Gligorov – the first president elect of Fyrom

  • Michael Danias

    The root of Fyroms problem is the identity issue. It has to be brought up. The country has been built on bad foundations so its now faltering. had it had a sound foundation of multiculturalism it would not be in the mess. The Albanians are indigenous and as such deserve equal rights. Just the name Macedonia is offensive to the Albanians. Its offensive the the Greeks. its offensive to the Bulgarians. When a new nation offends its neighbors from the gecko it is doomed. add to this the cultural fabrications of antiquity. Slavic denials. stolen national heroes. theme parks that are the product of a mad man. languishing economy. ect ect. all these social and economic issues are brought upon from one thing – the identity. Its false. The minute they redefine who they are in a correct historical and scientific manner the country will thrive. they don,t take criticism. its impossible to criticize them. they don’t get it. Macedonia is a name that is not exclusive to FYROM. They cannot use it. They have had ample time to fix the name issue. Instead they forged along with a false antiqization policy. Inflammatory airport names. Cheap Italian statues of historical figures that are not ethnically connected to them. Ect Ect. The media has been shut down. Take Mina as an example of Gruevski propaganda. The place stinks. The best option they have is to take Rohrabacher advice. They will save themselves a civil war. Partition for peace. Let the Albanians split. They will never be accepted by their Slav co occupants. The fragmented mess can then decide to either forge along in their historical fantasy land or joint their ancestral homeland Bulgaria.

  • Michael Danias

    “Goce Delchev and Dame Gruev used to pass Death Sentences to those who claimed the blood of Alexander runs in us“.

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