In first reading on November 15, Macedonia’s parliament voted 66-41 in favor of the bill making Albanian the country’s second official language, amid harsh criticism from the conservative opposition.
BELGRADE (Sputnik) — The bill granting the Albanian language a status of the second official language in Macedonia has been passed in the first reading by the country’s parliament. The document is pending amendments and final approval, local media reported.
According to the MRT broadcaster, the bill was passed by 66 votes, with 109 of 120 lawmakers present during the voting. The review of amendments proposed by lawmakers is scheduled for November 22, marking the Day of Albanian alphabet in the country, the broadcaster added.
The bill’s adoption was initiated by the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), comprising ethic Albanians. The imitative was supported by its coalition partner, ruling Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM). The opposition Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) is opposing the bill and considers it non-compliant with the country’s constitution.
According to the bill, all state and municipal structures are expected to use the Albanian language, spoken by at least 20 percent of population, at the same extent as Macedonian. The law also stipulates that government bodies’ websites, official, business-related and personal documents will become bilingual, while banknotes, coins and post marks will have symbols of both ethnic groups.