DUI party official Kreshnik Bekteshi said that the party will declare its next steps by the end of the week. DUI is left out of coalition talks by VMRO-DPMNE and its leader Ali Ahmeti is publicly fuming over this decision, declaring the VLEN coalition “illegitimate” representatives of the ethnic Albanians and insisting that DUI, which won slightly more Albanian votes than VLEN, should be included in the next Government.

We have intellectuals, people who have contributed a lot to the country, not just Albanians, approaching DUI and giving their ideas. We have discussed several options, and by the end of the week we will announce concrete steps, said Bekteshi in a Sitel TV interview.

He insisted that DUI beat VLEN by 30-40,000 votes in the elections, and by six seats in Parliament (this number dropped to 4 after repeated voting near Tetovo swung one seat from DUI to VLEN). VLEN officials respond to this by saying that DUI included a number of other parties in its coalition, representing both Albanians and other minorities, and that DUI alone has just 9 seats, while its partners are eager to jump ship. VLEN official Izet Mexhiti today publicly speculated that the two Turkish members of Parliament who were elected on the DUI list “will not let the Turkish community remain out of Government for long”. After being called out in this way, they denied that they are preparing to abandoning their coalition with DUI.

Bekteshi was reminded during the interview that DUI was the first to violate its 2008 agreement with VMRO-DPMNE, according to which the party that wins the most votes among ethnic Macedonians should invite the party that wins the more votes among ethnic Albanians in a coalition. In 2016, DUI formed a coalition with SDSM, even though VMRO were the clear winners in the elections. According to Bekteshi, this obligation applies only to the Macedonian party, and not to the Albanian party – a position that is now mockingly dismissed by VMRO.