Constitutional crisis threatens Macedonia

Macedonia’s Constitutional Court President Mahmut Jusufi and another judge Bajram Polozhani have both resigned.

Source: Beta
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These moves have come following a court ruling prohibiting the flying of the Albanian flag on public buildings in municipalities with majority Albanian populations.

They have resigned after a Constitutional Court decision last week to remove an article permitting such actions from the Law on Use of Flags of Ethnic Groups.

“As president of the Macedonian Constitutional Court, I cannot sign this ruling (on removal of the article), and that’s why I am resigning,“ said Jusufi in a statement.

Polozhani felt the Court had descended into the realms of “political blackmail“, which was not his problem, but that of the Macedonian parliament.

President of the Democratic Union for Integration (DPA) Menduh Thaci has asked the Constitutional Court to make future rulings on the basis of the Badenter Rules, whereby a majority of votes from within the various ethnic minorities is required for rulings to be adopted.

“This ruling is extremely provocative, themes are being opened that we have already been through,“ said Teuta Arifi of the opposition Democratic Union for Integration (DUI).

The opposition Social Democratic Party has called on the government and other parties to discuss the matter and to not allow a “Pandora’s Box“ to be opened in inter-ethnic relations, as party leader Radmila Šekerinska put it.

In the meantime, the Court has asked for its ruling to be implemented immediately, and to be published in the Official Gazette.

Judges in the Macedonian Constitutional Court are chosen with a two-thirds parliamentary majority, according to the Badenter Principle.

In 1997, clashes broke out between the local Albanian population and police in the town of Gostivar, after a decision was taken to remove the Albanian flag from the local town hall.

After further ethnic clashes in 2001, the Macedonian parliament took the decision in 2005 to allow ethnic minorities to fly their flags from public buildings. The law applied to regions where minorities constituted the majority population.

However, in many such regions, only Albanian flags were raised.

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