|Speaker of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia|
Assumed office |
27 April 2017
Emil Dimitriev (acting) |
|Preceded by||Trajko Veljanovski|
|Minister of Defence|
18 February 2013 – 19 June 2014
|Preceded by||Fatmir Besimi|
|Succeeded by||Zoran Jolevski|
15 April 1962
Forino, Gostivar Municipality, SFR Yugoslavia
|Political party||Democratic Union for Integration|
|Alma mater||Belgrade Military Academy|
Talat Xhaferi (Macedonian: Талат Џафери; born 15 April 1962) is a politician of Albanian descent, former Minister of Defense and currently Speaker of the Parliament. He is a member of the Albanian community.
Xhaferi, an ethnic Albanian, was born on 15 April 1962 in the village of Forino near Gostivar, SR Macedonia, SFR Yugoslavia. He attended primary school in the nearby village of Čegrane and continued secondary education at the Belgrade Military High School. He studied at the Military Academy of the Land Army Infantry of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) in Belgrade and Sarajevo and specialised in command and staff duties at the Military Academy "General Mihailo Apostolski" in Skopje. From 1985 to 1991 he was a JNA officer and from 1992 to 2001 an officer of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia (ARM).
During the 2001 insurgency, in which ethnic Albanian militants attacked security forces, Xhaferi was at first a senior officer in the ARM, commanding troops in the Tetovo barracks. On April 28, the day of the Vejce massacre, he was on duty as commander at the barracks. Several days later he deserted and joined the National Liberation Army (NLA), the Albanian rebel group, and became its commander of the 116th Brigade with the nickname of "commander Forino", from his birthplace. He was later amnestied, following the Ohrid agreement.
Xhaferi was first elected to the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia in 2002 for the DUI party. From 2004 to 2006 Xhaferi was a Deputy Minister of Defence. From 2008 to 2013 Xhaferi was a Macedonian MP for the DUI party, allied with the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party.
In 2012 Xhaferi became known for his marathon speeches used as a filibuster tactic to blocking the adoption of a law on veterans that would have granted benefits to ethnic Macedonian war veterans, but leaving out former UCK fighters. He blocked the draft at commission level by "reading poetry, citing foreign literature and reports on Macedonia, mumbling or simply remaining silent, waiting for the time to pass".
In 2013 Xhaferi was nominated by DUI for Minister of Defense in the Cabinet of Nikola Gruevski, after the resignation of the DUI party member Fatmir Besimi. The appointment of Xhaferi triggered protests by both Macedonian (in particular retired general Stojance Angelov of the pro-veteran Dignity opposition party) and Albanian citizens. Xhaferi stated that his goal was to make the armed forces “a symbol of coexistence, tolerance and respect for differences”.
Speaker of the Assembly
In April 2017 Xhaferi was elected as chairman of the Macedonian parliament supported by a coalition of Albanian-minority parties and the opposition social-democratic SDSM party, sparking riots in the parliament building. The VMRO-DPMNE party labeled this move as a coup. Subsequently demonstrators broke into the parliament building, beating journalists and MPs, and had to be cleared by the police.
- Dimovski, Sase (22 February 2013). "Talat Xhaferi: Macedonia's Controversial Defence Chief". Balkan Insight (BIRN). Archived from the original on 1 June 2017.
- "Ангелов: Талат Џафери да каже зошто по масакрот кај Вејце, дезертирал од АРМ" [Angelov: Talat Xhaferi explains why after the massacre of Vejce, he left ARM] (in Macedonian). Инфо ( Здружение на граѓани за одбрана на слободата на говорот и на јавното изразување [Citizens' Association for the Defense of Freedom of Speech and Public Expression]). 28 April 2013. Archived from the original on 1 June 2013.
- "Груевски го предложи Командант Форина од УЧК за прв човек на македонската одбрана" [Gruevski proposed Commandant Forrina from UCK as the head of Macedonian defense] (in Macedonian). Кирилица. 18 February 2013. Archived from the original on 21 February 2013.
- Balkan Insight (in Serbian)
- Deutsche Welle (in Macedonian)
- koha.net (in Albanian)
- AP (in English)
- Hopkins, Valerie (28 April 2017). "What Happened in Macedonia, and Why". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 28 April 2017.
- "V makedonski parlament vdrli protestniki, poslanci vzklikali: To je puč!" [Demonstrators protest in the Macedonian Parliament, outcry: It's a coup!] (in Slovenian). 24ur.com. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017.
- Testorides, Konstantin (27 April 2017). "Protesters attack Macedonian lawmakers over leadership vote, dozens injured". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 29 April 2017.