Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Macedonia votes peacefully, looks to EU, NATO

By Matt Robinson

SKOPJE (Reuters) - A general election in Macedonia passed off peacefully on Wednesday after a sometimes violent campaign that drew warnings from the European Union and NATO that the country had to prove its democratic maturity.

When polls closed at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT), there had been no reports of serious incidents.

"We are talking about fair and democratic elections, well organized and with very few irregularities," Aleksandar Bastevski, a member of the State Electoral Committee, told reporters.

Macedonian leaders had appealed for a free and fair vote to answer EU and NATO doubts over the country's readiness to move along the road to membership in the coming years.

"I expect today's vote will show that Macedonia has the democratic capacity to pass the most important tests, and draw closer to NATO and the EU," Social Democrat Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski told reporters.

The EU envoy to Skopje, Erwan Fouere, toured potential hotspots, and hinted at his optimism. "We keep our fingers crossed that at the end of the day this will be an important landmark for Macedonia," said the Irish diplomat.

Preliminary official results were expected in the early hours of Thursday, with Buckovski's Social Democrats facing a stiff challenge from the opposition VMRO-DPMNE.

His multiethnic ruling coalition has come under fire for failing to provide jobs or decent wages 15 years after Macedonia split peacefully from Yugoslavia.

The Balkan country of 2 million people came close to full-blown civil war in 2001 during a six-month long ethnic Albanian insurgency. The EU brokered a peace deal, and made Macedonia an official candidate for membership in December 2005.

But Brussels stopped short of setting a date for accession talks, urging faster reform and better elections.

NATIONALIST IMAGE

Wednesday's vote was billed as a crucial test.

The start of the campaign was fiery, with two shootouts in the capital Skopje and several attacks on party offices in the mainly Albanian west. Tempers cooled as the vote got closer.

President Brank Cervenkovski, a Social Democrat, said he expected approval from Macedonia's EU mentors.

"I hope we'll earn positive remarks from Brussels, which will enable Macedonia to continue on its path to the EU and NATO," he said.

Opinion polls suggest the Social Democrats have lost ground to VMRO-DPMNE. Their modest economic reforms failed to reduce jobless figures of more than 30 percent or push the average monthly wage above 250 euros ($320).

But VMRO-DPMNE, which has tried to shed its nationalist image, may not find it easy to attract an Albanian coalition partner, analysts say.

The opposition party, named after two groups of Macedonians who fought against the Ottoman Turks, lost power in 2002 after ethnic Albanian guerrillas seized swathes of land in the north and west and fought government forces for six months.

Fighting stopped in autumn 2001 under a deal promising the 25 percent Albanian minority greater say over its own affairs.

A faction of the rebels entered government with Buckovski.

The 25-nation EU says it will review Macedonia's membership bid, including its performance on elections, in October.

Grappling with 'fatigue' over its eastward enlargement, the bloc has not set a date for accession talks.

EU envoy Fouere said Macedonia should not raise hopes of clinching a date soon, citing the slow pace of reform.

23 comments:

Cvijus011 said...

A nationalist party in Macedonia won the elections. Guess where will the new Kosovo be?

Fatos said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fatos said...

IN the middle of a couple backward countries such as Serbia and Macedonia. When will these neighbors understand that nationalism in not the way to go? my guess is that they are really aiming to be 4th world countries.

Cvijus011 said...

so what we be then? Albanians will take over the situation?

mitrovica pika pika said...

A very impartial peace of writing. there should be more people like her. Sad part is a lot of people on this site and other places will not accept what she wrote but will try to spin this and not accept the whole as it deserves.Kudos.

p.s. its her opinion so please dont write how she verifies yours or someone elses opinion.


Kosovo's limbo suits both sides
Mirjana Tomic International Herald Tribune

Published: July 6, 2006
MADRID Negotiations under way in Vienna, Brussels and New York on the future political status of Kosovo are expected to end this year. While Kosovo Albanians want independence, Serbia's prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica, declared during his recent controversial trip there that Kosovo "will always be part of Serbia."

Kostunica visited Kosovo on June 28, the day Serbs mark the 1389 Battle of Kosovo, when the defeat of the Serbs enabled the Ottoman Turks to invade the Balkans and stay there for almost five centuries.

When Western news media refer to Kosovo, they often remind their audience that for Serbs, it represents the cradle of Serbian civilization. They repeat what Serbian politicians tell them. But as the liberal Belgrade monthly Republika writes, Kosovo was "the heart of Serbia during Middle Ages." Today, "80 percent of the population has never been to Kosovo and has no links to the region, except for the mythology that has been consciously produced."

I am the only one among my friends and acquaintances who has actually been to Kosovo on vacation. Like most people of my generation, who attended Belgrade schools during the 1960s and early '70s, I had to memorize epic songs about the Kosovo battle and Serbian heroes. In our free time we listened to the Beatles and dreamed about visiting Western Europe. I never heard anyone say: "Let's spend our vacation visiting Kosovo."

In the absence of massive tourist demand to visit Kosovo, Yugoslavia's Communist authorities organized trips for employees and schoolchildren to visit the region. It was the only contact that most Serbs had with the "cradle of civilization."

The first time I visited Kosovo was in the late '60s. My parents took me on a tour of Serbian medieval monasteries, sources of culture and literacy before the Ottoman invasion and defenders of Christianity and tradition during the Muslim domination. Most monasteries were left to rot, but thanks to the efforts of monks and nuns, they functioned. In my early teens, Kosovo was a cultural shock: I remember veiled Albanian women in traditional costume selling food and crafts on filthy sidewalks.

Thirty years later, when I traveled to Kosovo as a journalist for a major Spanish daily and witnessed omnipresent underdevelopment, I wondered what had happened to the aid that had gone to Kosovo. According to a friend who had a leading position in the League of Serbian Communists, before Slobodan Milosevic came to power, all development aid was channeled to Kosovo Albanian Communist officials. Belgrade had no say on how it was spent.

As a reporter of Serbian origin, I did not feel welcome in Kosovo. In Albania, however, where I also went on a professional assignment, this was not the case. Our common Balkan cultural heritage created an immediate bond. My conclusion was simple: It was politics that created animosity, rather than a difference in cultural heritage.

Nowadays, after the 1999 war, deaths, expulsions, massacres and innumerable violations of human rights, the chance is small that young Kosovo Albanians and young Serbs would ever meet. If they did meet, it would be abroad. And if they became friends, they would not boast about it. A Vienna-based Albanian from Kosovo told me: "My mother's best friend is Serbian. When we go to Kosovo she has to hide it."

The Serbs who remained in Kosovo live in enclaves protected by international troops, while hundreds of thousands of Serbs, poor and rich, have emigrated from Kosovo during the past decades.

The poor live in Serbia's shantytowns; local Serbs consider them primitive. Some would like to go back, but fear prevents them. The rich, on the other hand, do not plan to return to Kosovo, where crime prospers and the electricity supply is unreliable.

Serbia's foreign minister, Vuk Draskovic, claims that the future status of Kosovo is of utmost importance for Serbia's future, but like other Serbian politicians, he does not specify why it is so important. Does Serbia's economic or political future depend on the status of Kosovo? Or would the loss of Kosovo mean that Belgrade politicians had to face the real issues affecting Serbia's population: crime, corruption, quality of education, unemployment, health care, democracy and human rights, low living standards, isolation from the European Union?

At the same time, the ambivalence about the status of Kosovo suits politicians: Serbian politicians evoke the Kosovo myth in order to postpone addressing their real problems; their Kosovo Albanian counterparts can always blame the lack of independence as the source of all evils, including unemployment, crime, corruption, crumbling infrastructure and the failing economy.

Cvijus011 said...

when my father went with his school to Kosovo they left on the same day cause a mob of albos stoned their bus, that was in the '50s and that was not a separate case.

Taking that into account, consider why Serbs didn't want to go to Kosovo.

mitrovica pika pika said...

"when my father went with his school to Kosovo they left on the same day cause a mob of albos stoned their bus, that was in the '50s and that was not a separate case."

the biggest lie I ever heard. Kosova got autonmy in 1968 before then it was a fucking shooting range for serbs. they used to compete on who is going to shoot more albanians. Remember Rankovic.
So fucking predictable.

Cvijus011 said...

emmm Mitrovica, it isn't that I want to prove you stupid, but Kosovo received autonomy in 1945. The only change in 1968 was that Kosovo evolved from an autonomous region to a autonomous province.

mitrovica pika pika said...

The 1946 Yugoslav constitution did not grant territorial autonomy to Kosovo, nor did it grant Albanian status as a recognized nationality. Five nationalities were recognized within the Yugoslav Federation; Serb, Croat, Slovene, Montenegrin and Macedonian. Albanian was not one of them.
And you are fucking stupid!

Cvijus011 said...

Does the term "narodnosti" ring a bell? Why don't you re-read the constitution again, maybe you'll find out something new

mitrovica pika pika said...

"Does the term "narodnosti" ring a bell? Why don't you re-read the constitution again, maybe you'll find out something new"

Actuall it does. It means the constitution isnt worth a penny and can be removed at a seconds notice.All workers of said natinality removed from work, universities closed, children poisoned, women raped, massacred and on top of that moved to albania.Does that ring a bell.
And I am done.

Cvijus011 said...

"moved to albania"

you mean moved from albania?

Cvijus011 said...

"All workers of said natinality removed from work, universities closed, children poisoned, women raped, massacred"

Actually you're right, it reminds me of the days when SS Skanderbeg existed

ivan said...

Mitrovica,

I am glad you pointed this article out. This actually proves that in Serbia people have different point of views on Kosovo and Metohija issue, and they do speak out without any fear. I guess thats what democracy means.

On contrary when i posted here that a Kosovo albanian girl told me that Kosovo albanians should not get the independance, all of you accused me that either she has Serbian roots, or that she is the creation of my imagination.

Now tell me who is closer to democracy?

By the way, another albanian friend of mine has told me that you Kosovo albanians are very primitive, and in fact that albaninans from Albania do not fancy you much. I guess this explains her following phrase:

"As a reporter of Serbian origin, I did not feel welcome in Kosovo. In Albania, however, where I also went on a professional assignment, this was not the case."

Peace to all :)))

NYoutlawyer said...

The albaniacs on this blog are pseudo-shifters. They mostly reside in the West, yet they propogandize for for albo kosovo from afar.

It would be nice to hear from albaniacs that actually live in kosovo, and not from the know-it-all BS'ers on this site.

The author of the article is right on though. And as always, the poor and innocent citizens are the ones that suffer.

Kristian said...

Not just in Kosovo/a but in Serbia as well!


remember that Ny.....


or here in the USA or anywhere else in the world!

mitrovica pika pika said...

"I am glad you pointed this article out. This actually proves that in Serbia people have different point of views on Kosovo and Metohija issue, and they do speak out without any fear. I guess thats what democracy means."

Ask Kandic how many death threats she has received so far and furthermore the writer of said article actually lives in Madrid. And radicals could win tommorrow if elections were held.

betabe said...

Nyoutlawyer, wake up don't talk while on sleep, open your eyes, get real, have a real life. I don't understand how somebody can talk while on sleep. Furthermore, how can somebody can be so stupid, so ignorant?
Bye from Prishtina, I really enjoy reading such emotionally (pathetic) related comments.

NYoutlawyer said...

Go fuck your goats betabe. They are calling for you.

Fatos said...

Journalists and NGOs face bombs threats, beatings and insults if they probe too deeply into Serbia’s role in the Balkan wars.

http://www.iwpr.net/?p=bcr&s=f&o=256839&apc_state=henpbcr

Yeah, it is hard indeed to get any closer to democracy Ivan. I dint blame you though, Democracy and totalitarianism are synonyms in Serbian.

betabe said...

Nyoutlawyer,

My goats are people like you, who think like you, who behave like you, my friend, your comments are sign of call and I have to act. I will all my life fuck such goats, with my words, with my knowledge, with my strength, as I did before and as I still do.

Be professional and don't take everything personally, eventhough I don't blame you for that.

Bye from Prishtina again. I got to do some work, pay 20% tax to Kosova budget, and 15% VAT from what is left, which will be used for KPS (Kosova Police Service), KPC (Kosova Protection Corps) future KAF (Kosova Army Forces), etc, not to forget that will be used for a new powerplant called Kosova C and not Kosovo and Metohija C, not to forget that will be used for revitalisation of Trepca conglomerate, which is very much wanted by Serbia. Hope you don't get this personally too.

(Seven years of freedom, seven years in freedom, seven years of going forward, God bless the Pope, our Friend USA including you if your really from there, Kosova and its resources)

NYoutlawyer said...

You forgot to mention that most of that money will line the pockets of corrupt, albaniac mafia politicians. And the average albaniac citizen will live in shit for decades to come.

Go sell your little story to someone that believes everything on CNN. Pristina is a cesspool.

betabe said...

Whether is a cesspool or not, I guess you're to stupid to say so. For further references please check the links below.


http://www.euinkosovo.org/upload_press/Best%20Airport%20Awards.pdf
http://www.ptkonline.com/web/site/index.php?CatId=17&PageId=217&language=1
http://www.ptkonline.com/web/site/index.php?CatId=22&PageId=118&language=1

and much more.
If I wouldnt live in Prishtina then I would believe what you say, and I would say how come a cesspool's airport received such internationally recognised award. Again don't take this to personally but I must remind you that I have to work again cause I must pay taxes to albanian "mafia" politicians, elected by Albanian "mafia" people of Kosova, and politically and economically supported by EU and US "mafia" but not supported by Serbian "honest" politicians and people (and they're crying and screaming of pain resulting for such non-support).
Wake up again.