VMRO-DPMNE today responded to the attempts from the DUI party to condition all Albanian parties against joining VMRO in a post-election coalition.

DUI insists that it will not form a coalition with any party that does not accept the Bulgarian demands for constitutional amendments, which was to be expected, but also added new demands. DUI now insists that Macedonia must change the way the President is elected and move the process from a direct ballot to the Parliament, where the Albanian representatives would have veto power. Another demand is for additional changes to the Constitution that would declare the Albanian language co-official with the Macedonian language.

Parties in the opposition Albanian bloc, who are campaigning against DUI’s extensive record of corruption, have endorsed some of these demands, and DUI hopes that with a unified front, they will prevent VMRO from forming a Government after the elections, and will escape legal scrutiny.

VMRO-DPMNE today rejected the DUI blackmail.

The President is the number one official in the country and he must be elected in direct elections. That is how it’s done in the most democratic countries in the world. Any attempt to suspend democracy would mean removing the citizens from the decision making process, said VMRO Vice President Aleksandar Nikoloski.

Nikoloski added that this proposal was put forward by DUI leaders Ali Ahmeti and Artan Grubi in hope that they will be able to “remain in power forever” by influencing the election of both governments and presidents.

SDSM is already on board with accepting the Bulgarian demands, and the party has supported making Macedonia bilingual in the past, but even they refuse the changes to the model for electing presidents. Still, SDSM, as the far weaker Macedonian party, is much more likely to accept the Albanian demands if it means they will cling on to power. SDSM today issued a statement declaring that Macedonia should continue to elect its presidents in direct elections.