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FYROM opposition considers forging United Front

Smaller opposition parties expressed interest after the Social Democrats suggested forming a wider opposition bloc to take on embattled Nikola Gruevski's VMRO DPMNE party at December’s elections.
Opposition supporter in Skopje. Photo by: Robert Atanasovski.
Opposition supporter in Skopje. Photo by: Robert Atanasovski.

After FYROM’s main opposition party, the Social Democrats, SDSM hinted that it will discuss at its October 2 party congress ways of combining all opposition forces into one united front against Gruevski’s ruling VMRO DPMNE, several smaller parties have said they are interested in the idea of collaboration.

The recently-formed Coalition for Changes and Justice, which unites several smaller opposition parties like the Democratic Alliance, DS, FRODEM and the Demos party, said it was open for cooperation.

"Our openness to cooperation includes the SDSM as well, but only on principled grounds and with one common goal – the toppling of the VMRO DPMNE-led government," said Pavle Trajanov, the head of the DS.

The small right-wingt VMRO - People's Party expects that a plan to establish the opposition front should be drawn up in the next ten days, without further delays.

"This decision depends solely on the SDSM. If they truly want a wide opposition front, the decision should only be confirmed at their party congress," an anonymous VMRO - People's Party source told Deutsche Welle, adding that the party is open to cooperation.

The SDSM’s vice-president Radmila Shekerinska told media on Sunday that her party, which already leads a coalition of smaller parties as well as of civil rights movements and NGOs against Gruevski, is seriously mulling the ideal of broadening cooperation ahead of the December elections.

"The people are tired of endless quarrels and political conflicts. They want to see people who know how to create not just coalitions, but partnerships, allies, to help us build a common future. That's why our proposal to the [party] congress [set for October 2] will be not to create simple party coalitions, but a real wide front that would say 'no' to the current impoverishment, isolation and fear that rules in FYROM," Shekerinska said.

Meanwhile, the ethnic Albanian political movement Besa, which was formed last year, said it is currently more focused on uniting the Albanian opposition bloc that would also possibly include the DPA-Movement for Change and the Uniteti party as well as others, aimed at defeating Gruevski's Albanian partner party, the junior ruling Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, among Albanian voters.

Only after uniting the Albanian bloc will the parties decide what to do next, said Afrim Gashi from Besa.

“It is a decision that will not solely depend on Besa," Gashi added.

Political snalyst and former MP Mersel Biljali thinks that the united front against the embattled Gruevski would be most effective if it unites the SDSM, which he says has sympathies among the country's Albanians, with the newly-emerged Albanian opposition parties.

"It is a fact that [SDSM leader Zoran] Zaev, is the first [ethnic] FYROM leader that is truly supported by the Albanians, so this cohesion would be of big common interest," Biljali said.

- See more at: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/wide-opposition-front-mulled-in-macedonia-09-20-2016#sthash.jwRvdA2J.dpuf

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