1. Albania: NEW GOVERNMENT WILL NOT SOLVE CRISIS
By Slobodan Rackovic
2. Macedonia : DEMARCATION OF ETHNIC DIVISIONS
By Zvezdan Georgievski
3.FR Yugoslavia : POSTPONING SOLUTION
By Branka Vujnovic
Since coming to power on 31 June 1997, the Socialist
changed four governments, which alone speaks volumes about the
instabilty and inconsistency of its politics and proclaimed
program of democratic reforms. Therefore, foreign investors are
reluctant to invest into Albanian economy.
After a one month vacuum, when Albania was without government
and prime minister, on 22 February, the Albanian parliament gave
majority votes to Pandeli Majko and his cabinet.At least
temporary, that solved deep crisis caused by disputes of two
currents in the ruling Socialist Party(SPA) culminating in
resignation of prime minister Ilir Meta and his government which
brought the government to the brink of early elections.
Compromise was possible because representatives of two
currents in SPA - its president Fatos Nano and former prime
minister Ilir Meta - made a temporary truce, which led to election
of Majko's cabinet in the parliament. Out of 86 socialist
representatives in the parliament of 140 seats, 81 voted in favor
of Majko, and 42 opposition representatives (out of total 46)
voted against. President of the parliament Namik Dokle, a
socialist, didn't allow for a secret voting but opted for public
elections with raising hands. It obviously influenced surface
unity of socialists , although Meta supporters who got much less
offices in new government than Nano's followers, threatened to
vote against the government.
The new prime minister is a 34-year old lawyer Pandeli Majko who
has been PM for the second time in three years, so his government
was already nicknamed "Majko 2". He tried his best to ease
tensions between fighting Nano and Meta so he made up his cabinet
from almost anonymous politicians. Only familiar faces are former
foreign minister Arta Dade, a physician, and finance minister
Katriot Islami, an economist. To what extent Majko tried to evade
compromised politicians, also exposed members of one of fighting
currents in Socialist Party is best illustrated by the fact that
he chose to put a writer - Luan Ramo - into the office of defense
How useful this tactics is and will the government prove to be
incompetent remains to be seen during next weeks, but all foreign
diplomats and reporters in Tirana agree that new government is
only a temporary solution that can last at most until summer when
country will have a new president which will almost certainly be
Fatos Nano. Presidential elections are set for june, since today's
non-partisan president Rexhep Mejdani is running out of five-year
term. At this time, there is no real competition to Fatos Nano.
General belief has it that this 50-year old university
professor, a seasoned politician and twice prime minister who has
been at the helm of Socialist Party for ten years will grab real
power into his own hands and try to make the government an
exponent of his own personal power. Important fact supporting this
theory is that Nano, since 31 June 1997 when socialists took
over country from Berisha's democrats, changed three prime
minister and even ran the government himself for several months.
According to statistics, Albania changed prime ministers
approximately once a year! Of course, that doesn't contribute to
stability of government and to proclaimed politics of democratic
reforms. Furthermore, this irrational behaviour is discouraging
foreign investors from investing money into Albanian economy - IMF
and World Bank warned Tirana that it could easily lose a 100
million USD worth aid.
New old prime minister Pandeli Majko is lacking in energy but
is popular in the west as modern and progressive politician,
thanks also to the fact that he allowed NATO forces to use
Albanian harbours and air space during air strikes against
Yugoslavia. He said that his priorities will be implementation of
the state of law, fight against corruption and organized crime,
putting an end to energy crisis and supporting further integration
into Europe. On economic level, Majko promised that the government
will keep up above 7 per cent economic growth, stable exchange
rate of national currency lek and moderate inflation (about 10 per
cent). Together with foreign support and investments, Majko hopes
for decrease of an apalling unemployment rate (after the fall of
communism in 1991-92 over a million people found themselves
without jobs) which caused massive emigrations in Greece and
Italy, but also other countries like Switzerland and Germany.
However, opposition doesn't forecast much time for the new
government - president of Democratic Party and head of opposition
Sali Berisha who was Albanian president from 1992 to 1997 said
that Majko's government would only deepen the crisis in Socialist
Party and Albania. In his party's newspapers Rilindja Demokratike,
Berisha said the government was incompetent and envisioned that
the socialist regime will soon be replaced.
In the same newspapers, program of the new government was
criticized by democrat Spartak Ndjela, leader of Republican Party
Fatmir Mediju and other opposition leaders, gathered in the
coalition "Together to Victory". This coalition has recently
returned to the parliament after boycotting it since last general
elections in order to spur internal disputes in Socialist Party
and provoke early parliamentary elections. Berisha and his
followers have already proposed for parliamentary elections to be
held in june, together with presidential elections. Taking into
account polarization within Socialist Party, that initiative could
stand a chance. Everything depends on whether Majko would suceed
in easing antagonism between two most important figures in
Socialist Party - Fatos Nano and Ilir Meta - and their followers,
or whether his rule will only be a passing episode in the process
of fragmentation of the Socialist Party. Everyone agrees that it
is all too ready for deep democratic reforms changes of
The theory that in Macedonia politics is in fact
war through other
means is confirmed with the recent formation of the so-called
Coordination Body of Albanian Parties. Ali Ahmeti, leader of
demobilized Liberating Army of Macedonian Albanians, has started
an initiative to create this institution, allegedly to help
implement the so-called General Agreement from Ohrid which ended
fighting between Albanians and Macedonians last year.
This action finally launched Ali Ahmeti into official
Macedonian politics, with a grand entrance as a man who united
Albanian political parties. Leaders of three strongest Albanian
parties in Macedonia, Arben Djaferi, Imer Imeri and Kastriot Hadji
Redja met with Ahmeti in the town of Tetovo in western Macedonia,
centre of Albanian minority, to promote new institution. Ali
Ahmeti said at the meeting that the "Macedonian side shouldn't see
Coordinating Albanian Council as a parallel institution of power.
We would like for Macedonians to also take similar step, creating
an institution which will guarantee peace in the country".
However, Macedonian political analysts interpret this new
Albanian political alliance in the light of upcoming general
elctions. It is already certain that elections will be based on
proportional model. If all Albanian parties group under one liast
(they could get 25 per cent of total votes), then it is clear that
Albanians will be key element in creation of any government, since
they will be in a situation when they could press demands in order
to stabilize or destabilize executive branch.
Ruling Macedonian party VMRO-DPMNE said that it was absolutely
against any kind of councils, allinaces or other political bodies
formed exclusively according to ethnic principle.
Radmila Secerinska, spokeswoman to the opposition
Socialdemocrat Alliance (SDSM), said that this Albanian action
will "in long-term have a negative impact not only on democracy in
Macedonia, but on rights of ethnic Albanians who are facing
impossiblity of a free political choice".
International representatives from NATO, OSCE and EU in
Macedonia didn't have any straightforward comment, but they said
they would welcome any action supporting implementation of Ohrid
Agreement. Accordingly, they would also welcome Albanian Alliance,
if it supported Ohrid Agreement.
On the other hand, talks between leaders of the parties which
signed Ohrid Agreement (ruling party VMPRO DMPNE Ljupce
Georgievski and opposition SDSM leader Branko Crvenkovski -
leaders of Albanian parties in Macedonia Arbven Djaferi and Imer
Imeri), sponsored by Macedonian president Boris Trajkovski, turned
into an utter failure.
Problems were caused by the issue of early elections. According to
Ohrid Agreement, they should've been set for mid-January. However,
the ruling party VMRO-DPMNE decided to hold regular elections
sometime during autumn. Of course, opposition leader Crvenovski
wasn't too happy with this plan and decided that his party SDSM
would boycott all further talks.
Also, these talks still yielded fruit - agreement on amnesty
law for Albanian rebels which has previously been a big problem in
implementation of Ohrid Agreement.
New draft accepted suggestions of Albanian politicians, so
that the amnesty will not only include participants in the
conflict, but also those who were preparing it, which once again
left a feeling among Macedonians that they were defeated in
Macedonian war. Regarding elections, it seems that also
international community accepted explanation that they are
impossible at this time.
After Crvenovski decided to boycott further talks, he went to
Bruxelles, where he's scheduled to meet NATO general secretary
George Robertson. Macedonian president Boris Trajkovski thinks
that Robertson will exert pressure on Crvenovski to return to
Cementing defeat, the establishement of a new political chart in
Macedonia can be seen in decision of Macedonian government to
build a settlement in a vicinity of Aracinovo village near Skopje.
The settlement in question will be buult for Macedonian refugees
who escaped from Aracinovo, one of the centers of fighting between
Albanians and Macedonians. That fact makes it the first action to
mark Macedonian territory, making division according to ethnic
This pessimistic theory is further confirmed by slow
implementation of Ohrid Agreement regarding entrance of mixed
police patrols in conflict-torn villages.
It seems that, eventually, such an unstable situation is favored
not only by Albanian politicians but also to Macedonian ruling
structures. It is obvious that VMRO-DPMNE and its leader and prime
minister Ljupce Georgievski try their best to postpone electios,
since he's aware of losing international support and catastrophic
situation in economy is a sure sign of his near defeat.
Albanians and VMRO-DPMNE can find joint interest (or already
did so) in organized crime. Lack of police control on a part of
Macedonian territory is ideal for creating illegal zones for
highly organized smuggling of arms, drugs, people... This theory
was indirectly confirmed by the recent scandal around border
between Macedonia and Yugoslavia in Kosovo region.
Representativesd of UNMIK and KFOR in Kosovo said that for them
border with Macedonia was not valid. Schock and protests of
Macedonian public later led to discovery that Macedonian
government still hasn't archived topographic maps in the UN, in
order to finish process of establishing borders.
It seems that somebody at the top wanted the border to be
non-existent. After the scandal, Macedonian foreign minister
Slobodan Casule quickly sent maps and temporarily put scandal into
background, but not the problems coming out of it.
Serbian-Montenegrin talks about the future of joint
attended also by high EU representative for security and foreign
policy Javier Solana caused animated reaction from politicians and
analysts from both republics. The storm was caused by Solana's
proposal of future country, which he expressed at the last round
of talks at the end of February in Belgrade. Although this
proposal wasn't drafted in written form, which was confirmed by
Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic, reaction of Serbian and
Montenegrin politicians, especially those in the know, suggests
that what has leaked to the media is very near the truth.
Europe is offering only "postponement of final solution" for
several years. Interim would be some kind of union between Serbia
and Montenegro. Basically, EU proposed for each of the two
Yugoslav republic to have its own completely separated state
institutions, as now, separate currency and border, with the
possible exception of the army which is now also joint. Access to
international institutions would be divided in two, with one seat
in the UN on a rotating basis every 6 months. According to
proposal, referendum which was announced for this spring would be
postponed for 3 to 5 years, and the Union would have only several
joint sectors where votes from Serbia and Montenegro would carry
The key dilemma of this Balkan neverending story is proverbial
reluctance to share power, even now when most of it stays in their
own hands. Still, Solana's proposal is more acceptable to
Montenegrin president Milo Djukanovic because it offers a high
degree of independence to Montenegro. However, Djukanovic has
problems with his coalition partners who don't want to hear about
postponement of referendum on complete Montenegrin independence.
It was shown that Djukanovic went too far in his revival of
national-romanticism in order to drop it now only because directed
to Europe, without endangering his position.
Bruxelles would like to stop further fragmentation of Balkans,
but they don't want to burn all bridges with ruling coalition in
It is interesting that Belgrade has especially hard criticism.
Serbia has grown comfortable in its superior position because
after many years its interest was the same as EU which insists on
survival of joint state. Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica
accused "some among DOS coalition" of anti-Montenegrin and
anti-Yugoslav campaign, not mentioning anybody by name, but not
leaving room for doubt that he meant about Serbian prime minister
Djindjic and a bigger part of coalition in power.
A harsh response followed only few days after Solana left
Belgrade - proving that Serbian side was very unhappy with EU
proposal for resolution of relationship between Serbia and
Montenegro. Different from federal president Vojislav Kostunica
who wants Yugoslavia to survive at all costs, Serbian prime
minister Zoran Djindjic warns that a country is something which
functions throughout its territory, which has joint market, same
borders and customs sending a message to EU to support the concept
of such a state. Especially fierce reaction came from Serbian
finance minister Bozidar Djelic who said that a country based on
EU Union proposal would be similar to "economic Frankenstein" and
harmful to both Serbian and Montenegrin citizens. As Taking into
account situation with Belgrade authorities, Kostunica excluded,
there are only two acceptable possibilities: creation of
functioning federation with joint customs service, one currency,
joint approach to EU and harmonized law system or eparate
countries in an economic sense.
Negotiations between Serbia and Montenegro should, as
announced, finish by the end of March. It is suppose that Solana
will continue his moderating role. However, it may happen that too
pushy EU approach influences collapse of task, in which case
Serbia and Montenegro will become completely separate countries.
Although representatives of Serbian government announced
"continuation of talks, either with EU moderators or without
them", previous experience proved that Serbia and Montenegro
cannot reach terms without them.
General remark is that accepting these EU proposals would not
only fail to solve the issue of functioning of joint country, but
would also further complicate the deal, because there would be two
defective countries instead of one at least somewhat functional.
If what the media says about EU proposals is correct, then one
might ask a question whether EU wants at all to conserve a
community of Serbia and Montenegro.