Ali Ahmeti, leader of the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), said that following the early elections the party is examining four options: coalition with VMRO-DPMNE, coalition with SDSM, a broader Government and going to the opposition. In an interview with the TV21 channel, Ahmeti also opened the idea of holding new elections, if a stable coalition can’t be formed and if the demands from a platform which DUI agreed with two other parties that represent ethnic Albanians can’t be met.
“Why wouldn’t we have new elections if there is no better solution? The country will certainly go to new elections if the Albanian platform is not accepted”, Ahmeti told TV21. This platform, agreed between DUI, BESA and the Alliance of Albanians in meetings with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in Tirana requires a new model for of funding municipalities, greater Albanian participation in the talks with Greece and Bulgaria, opening of NATO and European Union prospects, changes to the flag, coat of arms and the anthem and a number of other concessions that go beyond the inter-ethnic Ohrid agreement from 2001. SDSM have yet to give their position on the platform, while VMRO-DPMNE said that it would open a number of issues and that just as ethnic Albanians have national interests they want met in the next Parliament, so do ethnic Macedonians.
DUI holds 10 seats in Parliament, a sharp drop from their results in 2014 when they won 19 seats. It is mainly due to SDSM campaigning for the votes of ethnic Albanians for the first time in Macedonian politics. The social-democratic party won estimated 70.000 ethnic Albanian votes, almost as many as DUI did, and greatly reduced the number of ethnic Albanians elected to Parliament. DUI can form a Government with VMRO-DPMNE, which has 51 seats and that coalition would have just enough seats to get approved. SDSM has 49 seats and their possible coalition with DUI would need the support of at least one additional party to reach the required 61 seats.
In his interview, Ahmeti spoke about the so-called May agreement rule from 2008, under which the party that wins most votes from ethnic Macedonians goes on to form a coalition with the party that wins the most votes from ethnic Albanians. Under this rule, VMRO-DPMNE and DUI should form the next Government, and President Gjorge Ivanov already awarded the mandate to VMRO-DPMNE President Nikola Gruevski.
“In 2008 it was a risky move for VMRO-DPMNE to go into a coalition with us, forces whom they once called terrorists and enemies of the state. Polls show that the Macedonian public does not support the May agreement, but it has ensured that the electoral will of the majority of the Albanian voters is respected. Right now, I don’t know if there will be understanding from VMRO-DPMNE to implement our platform. I can’t predict that”, Ahmeti said.
Ahmeti was also dismissive of the idea of a coalition with SDSM, saying that the social-democrats are not the winning party in the elections, and there is no guarantee that such a coalition would be stable. Ahmeti said that he will analyze closely the benefits of forming a coalition with either the conservative or the social-democratic Macedonian party, and will even consider taking DUI to the opposition, allowing VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM to form a coalition between themselves, possibly joined by the other smaller ethnic Albanian parties