Sunday, 22 October 2017 | News today: 0

Parliament decides to open bid for new SEC member, heated argument on the language law

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In the Macedonian Parliament, representatives agreed to publish a new bid for a member of the State Electoral Commission (SEC), who would represent the BESA party, which became the fourth largest party overall at the December elections, overtaking the DPA party. Representatives also had a heated argument over the proposed law on the use of languages, which is supported by the SDSM party and their ethnic Albanian allies but not by VMRO-DPMNE which said it will use all options to block its adoption.

Regarding the SEC, BESA insisted that the outcome of the elections is considered when making up the organizations which prepares the elections. Afrim Gashi, Tomislav Tuntev and Ejup Halimi proposed the change and it would replace DPA candidate Bedredin Ibraimi from the SEC. Ibraimi was nominated by the DPA party which won only two seats in the December elections, falling to fifth place, while BESA, with five seats, is the fourth largest party. Traditionally the SEC includes political appointees from the four largest parties in Macedonia. Eighty members of Parliament voted in favor of this move with no opposed or abstained.

Earlier, Ilija Dimovski from VMRO-DPMNE and Speaker Talat Xhaferi were engaged in a heated argument which threatened to get out of hand, when Xhaferi initially refused to approve Dimovski’s request for a break. Xhaferi relented when many of the VMRO-DPMNE representatives approached him at his bench.

“You can’t force out a decision under pressure and with threats, when 50 of you come here and make the same error, with violence. I will not make decisions under blackmail, not today, not tomorrow, never”, Xhaferi said. The argument was sparked when Xhaferi tried to quickly adopt the program for the day while Dimovski was requesting a break.

Dimovski called on Xhaferi and the rest of the Parliament to withdraw the proposed law on the use of languages, which was the chief condition for the Albanian DUI and AA parties to support SDSM leader Zoran Zaev to form the Government. The proposal would greatly expand the official use of the Albanian language, including outside of areas where Albanians make up at least 20 percent of the population, which VMRO-DPMNE says is contrary to the Constitution. SDSM, DUI and AA say that the law is in line with the Constitution and should be adopted under an expedited procedure used to adopt laws that align Macedonia’s laws with those of the European Union.

Dimovski said that VMRO-DPMNE will use all procedural options to block the adoption of the law. Dimovsi said that the narrow ruling majority was unable to point out to an EU regulation which corresponds to their proposal for the law on the use of languages, which means that the use of the “European flag” option is invalid and the law should take the longer route, with a full discussion with greater possibilities to amend the draft law.

“I would like to assure our fellow citizens from the Albanian community that VMRO-DPMNE and the Coalition for a Better Macedonia do not intend to run away from a debate on improving the use of the Albanian language in the Republic of Macedonia. On the contrary, in the past we’ve given specific and constructive proposals which would benefit Albanian citizens. We also intend to have a debate on improving the use of other languages named in our Constitution, such as the Turkish, Serbian, Bosnian, Roma and Vlach languages. Unfortunately, this law would create a dual system, a de-facto linguistic federalization of Macedonia, which is contrary to the Ohrid framework agreement”, Dimovski said in a separate press conference.