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Macedonia: Parliament To Again Debate Reforms

Skopje, 9 November 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Macedonia's parliament is due to continue debate today on 15 constitutional amendments that need to be passed under the Western-brokered peace plan for the Balkan country. Approval has stalled over language that describes what communities compose Macedonia. An ethnic Albanian party, the Party for Democratic Prosperity, says the proposed wording still suggests dominance by the Macedonian majority, in violation of the 13 August peace accord. The party says it will either boycott or vote against the measures. Three other large parties -- one ethnic Albanian and two Macedonian -- hold enough parliament seats to approve the measures on their own. But political leaders and Western officials have been seeking to win as broad a consensus as possible for the constitutional reforms to strengthen their legitimacy.

Ethnic Albanian rebels agreed to stop fighting and handed over some 4,000 weapons to NATO in exchange for reforms aimed at improving the civil rights of Macedonia's large ethnic Albanian minority.