DUI party leader Ali Ahmeti said that he is engaged in discussions with Zoran Zaev to replace the flag, coat of arms and the anthem of Macedonia, saying that this last issue is “just a matter of time”.
We had talks on the anthem, the coat of arms and the flag. These matters require consensus but will mainly depend on an agreement between the Macedonians. Regarding the anthem, there is not much opposition, and it is a matter of time, Ahmeti said.
Zaev has not addressed this Albanian demand yet. The symbols are already compromises – Macedonia was forced to change its flag in 1993 by Greece, which claimed exclusive property of the Kutles star symbol, and the current flag was designed by an all-out SDSM party supporter and vocal opponent of Macedonian displays of patriotism Miroslav Grcev.
The coat of arms remains largely unchanged since Communist times, despite the fact that before Zaev’s Colored Revolution Ahmeti was willing to accept a demand from Nikola Gruevski that it is changed into the historic lion symbol that was used in Macedonia since feudal times and also evokes the times of Alexander.
As for the anthem “Today over Macedonia”, it was adopted early in the Communist regime, to replace the original anthem used at the ASNOM assembly “Rise dawn of freedom”. Albanians object to the fact that it only names Macedonian and Vlach freedom fighters from the Iliden Uprising and the VMRO organization, and recently the Zaev regime has tried minimizing this portion of the text.
Ahmeti also said that he supports Zaev in his proposal to amend the Constitution and add the Bulgarian minority in the preamble, in an attempt to placate Bulgaria.