The ruling SDSM party does not have full support from its smaller coalition partners when it comes to adding yet another ethnic Albanian party to the coalition.

Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski is courting the Alliance of Albanians as his partner, trying to shore up his ruling majority as his dominant Albanian partner, the DUI party, has an restless faction that could pull several members of Parliament from Kovacevski’s orbit. Adding AA to the coalition would bolster the numbers in Parliament, but would come at a heavy price, since it demands three seats in Government, and skew the representation of Albanians in the executive even further from their representation in the general population. Even though they make up only about 25 percent of Macedonia’s population, Albanians hold about half of the seats in the Government – and a large majority if we include deputy minister seats.

My position, and the position of the DS party, is that we will support a reconstruction of the Government only if article 6 of the Constitution is respected. That article provides for appropriate and fair representation of all ethnic communities in the Government and other institutions. If this article is violated, we will not support changes to the Government, said Pavle Trajanov, whose small DS party holds one seat in the Parliament, but also has seats in lower echelons of power that could be threatened if AA gets its share.

SDSM officials gathered their coalition partners today to discuss the AA demands. If the negotiations are successful, it would leave only one ethnic Albanian party in the opposition – BESA – while the majority of ethnic Macedonians, who are represented through VMRO-DPMNE, will remain in opposition.