Civil War in the Balkan state of Macedonia is one step closer after a new Parliamentary Speaker took office against the wishes of Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov and a majority of Macedonians.
Talat Xhaferi from the Albanian party Democratic Union for Integration, has further provoked the tense situation in the former Yugoslav republic by placing a flag of the Republic of Albania on his desk beside the flags of Macedonia and the EU, of which neither Macedonia nor Albania is a member.
After a fragile peace following the Ohrid Agreement of 2001 wherein Macedonia granted copious rights to Macedonia’s Albanian minority, things have been touch and go between the country’s Slavic majority and the Albanian minority.
In recent years, Albanians from neighbouring states have entered the country, bringing with them an extremist political programme which includes sectarianism and some elements of radical Sunni Islamism. The radical political programme includes calls for a ‘Greater Albania’ which would see the Albanian state annexing territory which legally belongs to Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece.
The radical political programme to ironically Balkanise the Balkan country is best reflected in a document officially handed to ethnic Albanians in Macedonia by the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. The so-called Tirana Platform was originally authored in English by western operatives before being handed over to Albania. Albanian leaders in Tirana then claimed authorship for the highly controversial programme which would in effect end Macedonian statehood as currently understood.
Recently, protests in the Parliament in Skopje saw Macedonian socialist leader Zoran Zaev injured. Zaev who could not form a government by himself due to lack of votes, is widely seen as a traitor for relying on minority Albanian parties with a sectarian agenda in order to attempt to form a coalition government, something that the Macedonian President remains stridently opposed to, as do the majority of Macedonians.
Today’s move by ethnic Albanian Talat Xhaferi bring the Balkans one step closer to open conflict.