Saturday, April 29, 2017

Zoran Zaev, Macedonian Lawmaker, Is Bloodied in Attack on Parliament by Nationalists

On Thursday night, in the Macedonian Parliament building, tensions finally reached violent levels after head of the Social Democratic Party, Zoran Zaev, was allowed to form a government that would allow Albanians more representation. Albanians form only one quarter of the Macedonian population, thereby making them an obvious minority. Nationalistic protesters were seen punching and throwing chairs, as well as dragging Social Democratic party member Radmila Sekerinska out of the building by her hair. The government has been put into a kind of standstill after findings in 2015 revealing wiretapping claims to be true, exposing extreme "corruption, election rigging, and other criminal activities at the highest level of the government".  The conservatives have also been in a bitter state of being after elections in December basically found favor to be equally split for the most part between Social Democrats and conservatives. While they did eventually win, it was only by a sliver and thus they could not fill up enough seats to form their own government. The majority on Thursday night was in the Social Democrats' favor as they had voted for former defense minister and member of the Democratic Union for Integration, Talat Xhaferi as speaker. It is Mr. Xhaferi's agenda to advocate on Mr. Zaev's behalf by formally petitioning the president to allow him to form a government where Albanians are seen as average citizens, instead of a minority. This served as a trigger for many protesters, many in masks and waving the country's flag, to resort to violence. They labeled the vote for Mr. Xhaferi a "coup". Frederica Mogherini and Johannes Hahn of the European Union were in opposition to the violence and claimed the election of Talat Xhaferi "a positive note". Police reinforcements finally arrived and were able to tame the violence with the use of stun grenades and were able to evacuate the lawmakers.

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