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The end of Republika Srpska opposition

The biggest opposition coalition in Republika Srpska, the Alliance for Victory, faced an election debacle and, a month after the elections it fell apart. Serb Democratic Party (SDS), Party of Democratic Progres (PDP) and Peoples Democratic Movement (NDP), were all defeated in the elections by the ruling coalition, headed by Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD).

Even in the “election night”, when all parties were waiting for the first results, it was obvious that something between the coalition partners was very wrong. Certain statements of coalition leaders gave reason to believe that they do not have the united viewpoints on the future of their cooperation. Right after the elections, when the SNSD victory was obvious, the problems in the SDS started. Party branches in several cities decided to cancel the obedience to the leadership and to start negotiations with SNSD about future cooperation. The biggest nightmare for SDS president, Vukota Govedarica, became a reality – two prominent members, Obren Pertović in Doboj and Milovan Bjelica in East Sarajevo, announced that they will support SNSD in the state Parliament, in order to “establish the Serb parties block and preserve the future of Republika Srpska and Serbs as constituent nation in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. After Petrović's – who is mayor of the city of Doboj – meeting with SNSD leader and elected Serb member of the BiH Presidency, Milorad Dodik, SDS president Govedarica decided to excommunicate him from the party. However, Govedarica still did not do the same with Bjelica. Many believe that Bjelica is politically stronger in SDS than Govedarica and that the possible excommunication of Bjelica is a “red line”.

On the other side, leader of the NDP, Dragan Čavić, decided to wait for the final results of election and then called on the session of the party Main Board. Čavić represented the biggest opposition in RS National Assembly, criticizing the Government with strong arguments and firmly discussed the hardest issues that the ruling coalition was tried to pass. To the surprise of the majority of RS citizens, Čavić on Wednesday announced that he already started negotiations with SNSD and met Dodik in several occasions.

"We’ve contacted Dodik and were invited to discuss the government formation. We will take part in these talks", Čavić said at the press conference.

He explained that he met with Dodik last Saturday when he was offered the position of the Director of the RS power company – Elektroprivreda RS.

“NDP has three main conditions in the government formation negotiations and those are: economy, the rule of law and social justice”, Čavić stated.

This decision sealed the end of the Alliance for Victory and it officially stopped to exist. PDP leader, Branislav Borenović, said that his party will continue the opposition work on all levels and will not negotiate with the ruling coalition.

The break-up of the opposition coalition and the events in the last month can be somewhat surprising for those who underestimated the power of SNSD and its 12 years as the ruling and strongest party in Republika Srpska. Those who followed the events more carefully noted that Dodik for the last several years is trying to destroy the opposition and its strongest link, SDS, from the inside. Confirmation that this is the case came from Banja Luka Mayor and one of the high SNSD officials, Igor Radojičić. In a post on Twitter, he said that “those who until now were entering the Presidential Palace in Banja Luka on the side doors, now will enter it on the main entrance”.

Having this in mind, the question is – did an opposition in RS ever, in fact, exist?/IBNA

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UN: Albanian population is aging fast

The Albanian population is aging fast. This is confirmed by a latest report issued by the United Nations Organization. The findings of this report show that until 2060, the median age of the population in the country will be 48.

This year will also mark the point when the median age in Albania is higher than other countries of the region such as FYROM, Montenegro and Serbia.

According to experts, one of the main reasons for the aging of the Albanian population at this pace relates to the drop in the birth rates, migration and increase in life expectancy. /ibna/

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World Economic Forum reveals the threats that the Albanian economy faces

The latest report on global threats published by the World Economic Forum “Regional threats of doing business”, says that the fiscal crises are the biggest threat that the Albanian economy faces, followed by illegal trade and failure of financial mechanisms or financial institutions.

The report, which analyzes 140 world economies, has pointed out another threat that the Albanian economy may face and this is inter-state conflict. Natural catastrophes and cyber attacks rank fifth.

Meanwhile, these conclusions were drawn based on the concerns that Albanian entrepreneurs have on their day to day business activity. /ibna/

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Foreign minister Bushati comments the technical details of the agreement with Greece for the first time ever

Albanian Foreign Minister, Ditmir Bushati has spoken for the first time on Monday evening about the technical details of the maritime agreement reached with neighbouring Greece.

Mr. Bushati published the maps that show the division of the sea border.

Nevertheless, Bushati said that there’s still no official agreement, but that there aren’t any obstacles either for the agreement to be signed by the two governments.

“The maritime agreement is an issue under discussion”, adding: “We are negotiating the full package which would solve this issue once and for all”.

Bushati denied any involvement by Turkey in this issue.

He said that there have never been any talks with Turkey regarding this agreement, while adding that the clash between Greece and Turkey concerns the islands on the Aegean Sea.

The minister added that to reach such agreement, “consultations will certainly take place with countries which have an experience in this field”.

“Greece has realized that time has come for such agreement”, he added.

Bushati has also stopped on the accusations launched by the Albanian opposition for the sale of sea waters or the allegations that Greece has been allowed to extend its waters an extra 12 miles.

In a televised interview for Vizion+, minister Bushati compared the maritime maps which belong to the agreement reached with Greece in 2009 and the one being discussed today.

“In the 2009 agreement, no straight line has been used, but only a middle line. Given Greece’s and Albania’s geographical position, this is impossible. Section 139 of the agreement shows the possibility of the internal sea in line with the principle of equidistance. According to this principle, the line that limits the sides is equidistant. Technically, we’re referring to the same principles that guide the 2009 agreement. If 2400 square meters are taken either from us, or from Greece, then we may end up on the back of each other”.

Meanwhile, the Albanian president has announced that he will not decree the agreement reached between the Albanian and Greek governments without the creation of the Constitutional Court first.

Foreign Minister Bushati says that there’s no such obstacle. “According to all legal norms that govern international agreements, the agreement goes to Parliament for approval once the Constitutional Court has had its say”, Bushati said, implying that the president is only entitled to decree the agreement once these steps are taken.

Under these circumstances, Bushati said, there’s no obstacle for us to sign the agreement.

Constitutional Court in Albania is not functional, because the majority of its members were impeached by the vetting process that is taking place in the justice system.

Authorities are hoping that this court will be up and running again next spring and in summer, it may deliberate the cases it has received. /ibna/

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Adoption of positive measures continues

Avoidance of pension cuts “secured”

The second measure in a set of policies that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had pledged to implement in the post-bailout era was tabled in parliament. The measure is a reduction in social security contributions for freelancers and farmers that will reach up to 35%. It is estimated that approximately 250,000 self-employed workers stand to benefit.

The draft bill introducing the measure also includes a series of provisions that safeguard labor, such as the institutional and organizational strengthening of the labor inspectorate and the staffing of welfare centers.

Avoidance of pension cuts “secured” on Thursday; pack of positive measures boosted

However, Athens has its eyes turned to Brussels and the final decision to abolish the measure to cut pensions as of 1.1.2019. Government sources expressed certainty today that the cuts will not apply and that the final set of positive measures to be adopted will be worth more than the 756 million euros listed in the draft budget. Moreover, they indicated that set of measures was finalized last week, thus rejecting a series of media reports that claimed some of the measures announced by the Tsipras administration will not be adopted.

According to information, every indication points to Thursday’s Euro Working Group meeting granting the requests of the Greek side. In any case, the 21 NovemberEurogroup meeting will sign off on the final decision.

A statement by the German Finance Minister a few days after his meeting the Greek PM strengthens Athens’ position. Olaf Scholz said yesterday that Greece is handling the issue “very reasonably, very reliably”. He also firmly refuted a front-page report in a Greek daily newspaper which claimed it was “Berlin’s decision” only to avoid cutting the lower pensions./IBNA

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FYROM: Former PM Gruevski has escaped to Hungary

FYROM’s former PM, Nikola Gruevski has announced that he’s in Brussels. Gruevski has done this through a posting on Facebook, where he has written: “In the recent days, I have received lots of life threats. Now I’m in Budapest where I’ve requested political asylum from Hungarian authorities. I shall always remain faithful to the Macedonian cause”, Gruevski wrote on his profile.

Meanwhile, the former PM is known for his ties with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, who several months ago had invited him for a visit to Budapest, but this was not made possible due to the seizure of his passport by the authorities. Police in FYROM have issued an arrest warrant for Gruevski, as he is supposed to suffer a two year prison sentence concerning a corruption case. /ibna/

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