This afternoon the DUI party will hold a meeting of its Presidency, to discuss next steps as they are about to be left in opposition for the first time since 2008. Ali Ahmeti’s party, that was formed from his guerrilla movement that began a civil war in 2001, has been in power almost non-stop since 2002, and has accumulated unprecedented power under the last SDSM Government, to the point that SDSM was eventually seen as a minor partner to DUI.

As VMRO-DPMNE is set to choose the VLEN coalition for its next partner, DUI is becoming increasingly nervous in its remarks. Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani, who was DUI’s presidential candidate, is meeting with international representatives to demand that DUI must be made part of the coalition. In a testy TV interview, Osmani repeatedly insisted that VLEN does not represent ethnic Albanians, and that DUI, as the Albanian party that won more votes, should be the rightful Albanian representative in the Government.

VMRO-DPMNE had a principled agreement with DUI since 2008 that the winner in the Macedonian camp should form a coalition with the winner in the Albanian camp, but Ahmeti himself violated this rule when he decided to form a coalition with Zoran Zaev in 2017, despite the fact that VMRO-DPMNE clearly won the elections. VMRO-DPMNE campaigned on finally turning some scrutiny toward DUI and the way it conducts itself in power, citing numerous and significant corruption allegations against the party’s top officials, and VMRO leader Hristijan Mickoski insists that it would be healthy for the party to spend some time in opposition and reform itself.

The dispute between DUI and VLEN over who is the “Albanian winner” in the elections is also very heated. DUI won more votes and has more seats, but it also had a pre-election coalition with a number of parties representing other minorities, such as the Roma, Turks and Bosniaks. Their members of Parliament are already announcing that they could leave their coalition with DUI and join VLEN or VMRO, which is also possible in the case of one large and several smaller ethnic Albanian parties that also won seats in the DUI coalition. Core DUI could be reduced down to 10 or fewer seats, from the current total of 19 seats, and could fall behind VLEN, which holds 13 seats.