Oct 26, 2007

Albanians in Macedonia: Flag Ban

Macedonian courts ruled that the provisions enabling the display of Albanian flag in public buildings were unconstitutional.
Macedonian courts decided that the legal provisions allowing for the Albanian flag to be displayed in public buildings were unconstitutional. 

Below is an excerpt of an article by Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN):

The Court’s conclusion means that the Albanian flag can no longer be displayed on a permanent basis alongside the Macedonian flag in front of municipal buildings in areas where ethnic Albanians make majority. 

The Court justified its ruling on the grounds that Macedonia’s sovereignty cannot be divided.

Macedonia’s Albanian community, which accounts for around 25 per cent of the country’s population, will still be able to fly their flag outside municipal buildings but only on public holidays. 

Mahmut Jusufi, the President of the Constitutional Court, told Alsat M TV on Wednesday that six out of nine judges had backed the new ruling.

Jusufi noted that all three Albanian members, including him, voted against. 

“I want to mention that for us, this was a political decision by the Court”, he added.

Jusufi said that this was the first time the Court had reached a decision without a consensus.

The spokesman of the Democratic Party of Albanians, part of the governing coalition, condemned the Court’s decision. 

Ruzhdi Matoshi blamed the opposition Social Democrats, SDSM, and the main Albanian opposition party, the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI for plotting.

“This Constitutional Court is composed of people of the SDSM and the DUI”, he told Balkan Insight on Thursday. 

“At a time when Macedonia approaches its NATO and EU integration we think that this is an attempt by the SDSM and the DUI to re-open this sensitive inter-ethnic question.”

But mayors representing the DUI, which is the largest ethnic Albanian party, have said they will continue to display the Albanian flag in the 14 municipalities where they are in control. […]