Wednesday, 16 August 2017 | News today: 14

Macedonian diaspora organizations call for new census followed by elections

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Associations of the Macedonian diaspora called for holding new elections and performing the long delayed census that would give greater clarity to inter-ethnic relations. In separate interviews, the Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) and the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) also strongly condemned the Tirana platform of Albanian nationalist demands that was drafted by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.

“UMD calls for a broad-based voluntary agreement by all, or at least the two largest political parties, that the December 11th 2016 election results be declared null and void, on the grounds that there has been no legal and accurate census upon which to base them, thereby rendering them in conflict with the Constitution. UMD calls on all political parties to condemn the Tirana Platform – a separatist nationalistic agenda being pushed by Albanian political parties, which discriminates against all others in Macedonia, and which has turned a political crisis into an ethnic one. UMD calls for a fair and accurate census to be organized immediately, using transparent methods and other best practices. UMD calls for all parties – equipped with an accurate census — to return to the citizens of Macedonia to seek a clear mandate, via new elections at the earliest reasonable opportunity”, the United Macedonian Diaspora said in its press release.

MHMRI said that its President Bill Nicholov met with relevant State Department representatives to relay the requests of the organization and of the Macedonian diaspora. At the meeting, Nicholov spoke out against the perceived US support to form a coalition between the SDSM party and several smaller parties that represent ethnic Albanians, based on the Tirana platform.

“Nicholov reiterated MHRMI’s call for the United States to condemn the Tirana platform, instead of condoning and advocating for it. MHRMI called for Ambassador Jess Baily to be immediately removed from his post as US Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia, Deputy Assistant Secretary Hoyt Brian Yee to retract his call for a mandate to be given to the anti-Macedonian coalition and for President Trump’s overdue Macedonia policy to be implemented immediately. Nicholov expressed indignation that the United States would actively support a coalition whose goal is to change Macedonia’s name, identity, flag, anthem and threaten Macedonia’s territorial integrity. He highlighted the irony of the US outrage over Russian meddling in the recent US Presidential election, considering that the core US foreign policy for the past seven decades is just that – foreign interventionism. He called for the US State Department and US Embassy in Macedonia in particular, to take direction from the new Trump administration – one that pledged to end US foreign interference”, MHRMI writes in its release.

Both organizations call for an end to the talks on changing the name of Macedonia and call for international recognition of the Macedonian national identity. According to UMD, greater border vigilance is necessary on the borders with Albania and Kosovo, considering the push by the latter country to ignore US and NATO urgings and to go ahead with forming its own army.

In its press release, MHRMI also condemned the lack of rights for Macedonians living in other countries in the region and called that the annual State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices begins to include all instances of human rights abuses against Macedonians in Balkan countries, with information continuously provided by MHRMI. “Moreover, Nicholov called on the same rights that are guaranteed to the Albanian minority by the Ohrid Framework Agreement to be implemented for the Macedonian minority in Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Kosovo and Serbia”, the MHRMI adds in its press release.