At least two members of the current parliament, as well as one minister in the government of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, hold foreign citizenship. Both MPs have Albanian citizenship, and the minister, who is from the ranks of DUI, in addition to Macedonian, also holds Austrian citizenship, "Free Press" has learned.
The lawmakers were granted Albanian citizenship by a decision of Albanian President Ilir Meta, who issued a total of 382 citizenships to persons from northern Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro in a speedy procedure. The Law on Citizenship in Albania gives the President the right to issue citizenship by decree if he deems that the country has a special scientific, economic or cultural interest in it. Among the Macedonian citizens who received such citizenships, besides the two MPs, there are other public figures, singers, artists, as well as religious leaders.
"Free Press" addressed the office of President Meta with a question based on what merits these citizens were granted Albanian citizenship, but received no answer. The Albanian press accuses President Meta of abusing this right and that there are people from Russia, Turkey, as well as some Arab and African countries, who do not meet any of the above criteria at all, but still obtained citizenship through a short procedure.
The opposition VMRO-DPMNE demands legal changes that will not allow a person with dual citizenship to become an MP. The party announced an amendment which stipulates that one of the conditions for candidates for MPs is that they have only Macedonian citizenship. Such a proposal is acceptable for the ruling SDSM, but provided that this rule begins to apply immediately and applies to the current parliamentary composition.
Albanian parties are generally opposed to the proposal. The BESA Movement does not see a problem if any of the MPs has dual citizenship. The Alliance for Albanians claims that none of their MPs has dual citizenship, and the DUI says that their leader Ali Ahmeti has only citizenship of Northern Macedonia.