Brawl Reported at Macedonian Party Congress

Photo by: DUI

Albanian-language media in Macedonia have reported an exchange of punches between two rival groups at Tuesday's congress of the DUI in the town of Struga, which apparently left one man in hospital with head injuries.

The party itself has stayed silent. Its spokesperson, Bujar Osmani, was not available for comment on Wednesday. The police said no incident was reported.

Alsat M TV said the brawl took place between the supporters of the former DUI mayor of Struga, Ramiz Merko, and the deputy Defence Minister, Arben Labunista, also a local party leader.

The brawl apparently disturbed residents in the ethnically mixed south western town and allegedly centered on the election of a new leader of the DUI's local party branch.

The report, citing party sources who were present at the incident, said Argetim Asani, the deputy head of the Macedonian revenue office, was hurt in the brawl and ended up in hospital. Merko, Labunista and Asani were not available for comment.

Speculation about animosity between party members in Struga begun after the 2013 local elections, when Merko failed to secure the party's endorsement for another candidacy, and Labunista was elected the party's candidate, but failed to win the mayoral seat.

The latest quarrel comes against a background of speculation concerning a tense atmosphere within DUI ranks.

In October, media reported another DUI-related incident in the Albanian dominated municipality of Saraj, near Skopje, where gunshots were exchanged.

The brief firefight allegedly took place between a group of supporters of MP Rafiz Aliti, seen as one of the closest associates of party leader Ali Ahmeti, and another group that supported the former justice minister, Blerim Bexheti,...

Continue reading on: