Discussing the disputed census that the Zaev regime plans to hold this April, President Stevo Pendarovski said that for an accurate census, it will be important to guarantee minority rights regardless of the ethnic distribution in the country.
At issue is the 2001 Ohrid peace treaty and the subsequent constitutional amendments, which guaranteed more political influence to any ethnic community that surpasses 20 percent at the national, and also at the municipal level. Written with the Albanian community in mind, the amendments were followed up by the 2002 census which put the Albanians at 25 percent. But high emigration rates and allegations of fraud during the 2002 census have raised doubts that the number will be duplicated, and in 2011, Albanian parties successfully pushed to have the on-going census canceled. Another attempt will likely be made in April, and Zaev’s SDSM party, with its main Albanian partner DUI, made sure that emigrants are counted along with residents – which should keep the Albanian share of the population above 20 percent.
We need specific statements that after the change of the Government nobody will alter the Constitution and will not roll back given rights. We don’t have such a statement at this moment from important factors on the political scene, especially from the opposition, Pendarovski told MIA.
VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski recently did assure ethnic Albanians that there is no danger of reducing their legitimate rights in the political system, but that in return it is important to have an accurate count of actual residents living in Macedonia.