News

Albanian party files official request to call a referendum on the unification of Albania and Kosovo

Red and Black Alliance proposes to establish an Albanian Federation made up of both countries · The party plays the card of Albanian nationalism ahead of parliamentary election in June · Neighboring countries oppose the move, which is prohibited by the Constitution of Kosovo

A newly formed Albanian party is proposing to hold a referendum in order to unite Albania and Kosovo into a single, new state. According to Bulgarian news agency Novinite, the Red and Black Alliance (AK, Albanian acronym) has filed a request in order to have the referendum called. Its proposal is to merge both countries into a single federation that encompassed most of the territories currently inhabited by ethnic Albanians.

Such a referendum would most probably be opposed by several Balkan countries, including those where ethnic Albanian communities exist: Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece and Serbia. Besides, the Constitution of Kosovo itself prohibits that the former Yugoslav province seeks union with another state. What is more, both the EU and the US officially reject the unification of both countries and have been calling to preserve current borders in the Balkan region.

The Red and Black Alliance might be trying to use Albanian nationalism to position itself in view of the upcoming Albanian parliamentary election, scheduled for 23rd June. Opinion polls say that this newcomer to Albanian politics would do relatively well and gather between 6% and 14% of the vote. Such a result would place AK in third position, only behind the two largest parties: current PM Sali Berisha's Democratic Party and the Socialist Party, now in the opposition.

The referendum proposal was presented last November by AK leader Kreshnik Spahiu, Kosova Press reported. Spahiu predicted that the petition would be "signed by millions of Albanians", forcing the parliaments in Tirana and Pristina "to vote for the nationwide referendum for unification".

A 2012 Gallup Balkan Monitor opinion poll found out that 81% of Kosovo Albanians support unification with Albania. The figure was 63% in Albania proper and 52% among Albanians in Macedonia.

(Picture: Albanian flags on a street. / Image by Shkumbin Saneja.)