Three Albanian political groups in southern Serbia have joined to form a united political party.
The party, dubbed the Democratic Union of Albanians, DUA, was formed when a Bujanovac party with the same name, led by Mejdi Zeqiri, merged with Ramiz Zulfiu’s Citizens’ Group, from the town of Presevo, and the Democratic Progress of Integrations, headed by Redzep Abazi, from the town of Medvedja.
“The reason for this unification is to defend the citizens’ interests with greater success,” newly-elected DUA President Rahmi Zulfiu told the party’s inaugural congress.
Zeqiri said that the DUA’s primary task is to protect the individual and collective rights of Albanians, as enshrined in the party’s political programme.
“This is an important step, especially now when the founding of the Albanian National Council is about to happen,” said Abazi.
The Party of Democratic Action of Riza Halimi, used to be the only political movement operating in all three of the southern municipalities in which ethnic Albanians predominate: Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac.
The new political party has been welcomed by independent Albanian circles in the south, which believe that the previous existence of 10 political parties was far too high for the size of the population they were representing.
According to the latest data on ethnic identification, from 2002, around 70,000 ethnic Albanians live in the three aforementioned municipalitites.
This community has been represented by 10 councillors in the three municipal parliaments.