Experts refute nationalist party in Albania

29/05/2013

The new party is accused of damaging relations between Albania and EU and undermining minority rights.

By Erl Murati for Southeast European Times in Tirana -- 29/05/13

photo

Supporters of the nationalist Red and Black Alliance march on Tirana main boulevard during a May Day protest demanding the resignation of Premier Sali Berisha on May 1st. [AFP]

The extreme nationalistic rhetoric from the Albanian political party Red and Black Alliance has damaged the state's relationship with the EU, analysts and experts said.

"This party has caused damages because it wants national unification … this is a wrong approach, which harms the biggest achievement of Albanian in the last 50 years, the alliance with [the] West," Mentor Nazarko, a professor at the University of Tirana, told SETimes.

The party, founded by Kreshnik Spahiu, former deputy head of the High Council of Justice, is demands unification of an Albanian state, rejects minority rights and accuses Prime Minister Sali Berisha of national treason. It requested a referendum on uniting Albania and Kosovo, but that was rejected by Albania's Central Election Commission.

"The nationalistic discourse of this party has not been serious, which means they brought maximalist thesis, for which they are aware they can't be achieved. There have been also some theses in a way even xenophobic as the stand to not participate in the left coalition, with the argumentation that Greek minority party is part of it," Nazarko said.

The party will participate in the June 23rd parliamentary elections, but it is not in the opposition coalition guided by socialist leader Edi Rama because the alliance objects to the Unity for Human Rights party, which protects Greek minority rights in Albania.

"The statement made from Red and Black Alliance for not being part of the coalition only because we are part of it, is offending. Unity for Human Rights party has been a model of coexistence. Greek minority representatives have shown they live with dignity and tried to maintain friendship bridges aiming for Albania to have its right European profile," Ligoraq Karamelo, vice chairman of the Unity for Human Rights party, told SETimes.

The Red and Black Alliance was given a warning by the Protection and Discrimination Commission after the mayor of Pustec said it threatened the Macedonian community in his municipality.

At the request of Macedonian community, in March 2013 the Albanian government changed the name of the municipality from Liqenas to Pustec.

"The Protection and Discrimination Commission ordered us to make a public apology, but we didn't do anything wrong. We did not offend or exercise violence against anybody. We just attached posters with Albanian emblem and symbol because there are no two language signs in Liqenas [Pustec]. Along with signs in Macedonian there should be also those in Albanian. This is a legal obligation," Redi Ramaj, head of Legal Department within Red and Black Alliance, told SETimes.

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According to a recent media poll, the Red and Black Alliance is projected to get about 2.9 percent of the votes in the elections.

Many voters eschew what the party stands for.

"Red and Black Alliance is playing with people's feelings. We want to improve the economy, young people require more work because they don't want to emigrate. I am going to vote for a party that guarantees the future to us and not for romantic national unity theses that do not improve our lives," Eridian Bakiu, information technology specialist in Tirana, 28, told SETimes.

Do you agree that the Red and Black Alliance damages Albania's relationship with the EU? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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