Macedonia’s DPA Demands New State Symbols

resizer34A new Macedonian flag, coat of arms and anthem are envisaged in the revised platform of the country’s primary opposition ethnic Albanian party, the Democratic Party of Albanians, DPA, local media reported Monday.

The revised platform, adopted over the weekend by the party’s highest institutions, champions significant changes to the extant status quo between the Macedonian majority and Albanian minority, formalized in the 2001 Ohrid Peace Accord.

The platform will be presented to the public shortly, an unnamed party source told local daily Vreme.

New national symbols should reflect the “multiethnic character of the state,” the source said, adding, “The Albanian language should be official throughout the whole country.”

The party will also demand a new official map of municipalities.

DPA head Menduh Thaci had previously advocated similar reforms, arguing that these represented the country’s last chance “to once and for all make things straight between Macedonians and Albanians.” He has said that the existing accord is dead, arguing it has been ignored by the ruling parties.

His proposals have encountered stiff resistance from all other parties in the country and from foreign ambassadors. The European Union ambassador to Macedonia, Erwan Fouere, cautioned recently that, instead of demanding new deals, Macedonian political movements should focus on full implementation of the existing agreement.

The DPA is a signatory party to the Ohrid Accord, which secured an end to a six-month insurgency through granting greater rights to ethnic Albanians who make up one-quarter of the population.

Through the deal, the Albanian language was made official in the areas where Albanians predominate. Its provisions gave greater autonomy to the municipalities and secured proportional employment quotas for Albanians in the public service and security forces.

The implementation of the agreement has not gone smoothly with partisan quarrels and disputes over competing interests marring relations in the intervening years.

Nonetheless, the accord has been adopted by the West as a cornerstone in rebuilding Macedonia as a multiethnic and democratic society.

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