North Macedonia: DUI, from ethnic party to environmental movement? / North Macedonia / Regions / Home Page

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Born as a political expression of the armed struggle of the Albanians in North Macedonia, DUI is now surprisingly trying to reposition itself as an environmental movement. A turning point which nevertheless intrigues a lot

The Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), the party formed in 2002 by the former leaders of the Albanian National Liberation Army (ALN) – which in 2001 was in military conflict with the police and military formations of the Republic from Macedonia – announced last June. that it aims to rebrand itself into a green party.

The 19th of the partye anniversary, leader Ali Ahmeti stressed that his new policy will be based on ecology and environmental protection. This rebranding attempt has met with mixed reactions from the public, as the party’s agenda until now has been strictly based on ethnicity.

The party highlighted the achievement of several legal and constitutional changes such as the territorial organization by the municipalities, the use of the Albanian language and flag at the institutional level and the implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement which served as a base for the end of the armed conflict in 2001..

“The Democratic Union for Integration accepts the green agenda as part of European green efforts and adds it to its priorities. We focus entirely on the conditions and development of life. Young people are looking for living conditions like their peers in the western part of Europe, jobs and a modern environment, ”Ahmeti said when announcing the green policy.

All doubts about going green

Analysts like Petar Arsovski see the rebranding as a public relations tool in the run-up to local elections, scheduled for next fall.

“It could be a move in the run-up to local elections for DUI to return to the top of the political scene,” the political analyst said.

Political scientist Sefer Selimi agrees that this new political agenda will last until the local elections. “This will be used to distract from the omissions of former DUI mayors. It is paradoxical to see how a party built on ethnic demands suddenly becomes a green party with civic connotations. But there is a long way to go between declaration and transformation and that is why I am not convinced that this step is honest and not a public relations mechanism, ”Seferi said.

Activists from environmental civil society organizations are also warning against the sincerity of DUI’s green program. The “Eco Guerrilla” organization recalls that DUI has been managing the Ministry of the Environment since 2008 and that the country’s environmental situation has not improved at all.

“The whole country is covered with illegal dumps. Mountains, forests, rivers have been destroyed by illegal constructions, but also by the construction of what are called small hydroelectric plants. Many green spaces are now covered with concrete. This is the image of DUI environmental management. Promoting DUI as a green party is like hiring a pedophile as a kindergarten principal. Macedonia will turn green when DUI loses the elections. Guerrilla.

Discordant reactions

Political opponents have criticized DUI for not doing something for a better environment since 2002.

On International Environment Day, the Alliance of Albanians, the opposition of the Albanian political bloc, symbolically dumped rubbish in front of the ministry to protest against the institution’s mismanagement.

“We are here in front of the Ministry of the Environment to deplore the horror and stench that citizens face due to their irresponsible work. The government, the Ministry of the Environment and other responsible people, instead of finding permanent solutions to the problems of large illegal landfills and mini landfills in every neighborhood, are shamelessly organizing promotions and celebrations on this day which symbolizes life and health, ”said Alliance of Albanians

“In the absence of projects and ideas, the ruling SDSM-DUI uses public relations tools. DUI goes back to its roots in 2001 as the Green Party of the Macedonian Mountains and Hills. It is obvious that DUI has no more new ideas to offer to citizens and is immersed in its own problems, crime and corruption, ”says VMRO DPMNE.

The green policy has been welcomed by the ruling coalition partner, the SDSM, and Prime Minister Zoran Zaev praised DUI for abandoning the ethnic agenda.

“It’s good that DUI is adopting a green agenda for all citizens, regardless of ethnicity,” Zaev said, but there has been no comment on how DUI’s mayors have treated so far. environmental problems in the municipalities they manage, and he hopes that in a few months, efforts in this area will manifest.

A party in search of identity

DUI changed its political profile depending on the type of election. Since 2002, DUI’s constituency was exclusively Albanian and was constantly in government, except from 2006 to 2008. The collective rights of Albanians were at the heart of its political platform with the integration of the EU and NATO.

In the last presidential elections of 2020, DUI supported multiethnicity under the slogan “consensual president” and the candidate of the SDSM, the current president Stevo Pendarovski. In parliamentary elections, with Albanian iconography and folklore, it presented itself as an ethnic party and was the only party to seek an Albanian Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia.

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