This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.afp.al
By Plator Nesturi
At the beginning of this year, the opposition organized its protest in front of the government building and managed to gather a significant amount of people. This protest followed a chaotic period within the right wing, which had not yet come out of the shock of the defeat of several elections in a row. Opposition making was only present in the parliamentary discourse and visual media and nothing more was being done to articulate criticism against Rama’s government.
In this aspect, the fact that 2018 started with a massive protest gave the impression of a different kind of opposition, both internally and also in the way it addressed the voters through a clear language and on concrete issues. But it looks like winter has once again brought back lethargic sleep and what happened in January was only a short awakening from a nightmare.
For more than a month now, since protesters gathered in front of the government’s offices, a series of events have taken place causing a number of problems for the majority. ARMO’s employees have not been paid and they do not know what will be done for their future, the villages of Verria who protest against the landfill which is being built on their lands, the repeated floods taken place in the south, damaging agricultural lands, homes and cattle. We continue with the public outcry caused by the construction permit which was granted for the power station in the Osum canyon, the protest organized by professors about the delays of salaries and also the problems that exist in public universities, to finish with the anger among artists who want to protect the theater and who seek transparency about what is going to be done in the temple of art. There have been a number of problems which have caused concerns for Rama’s government and which have obliged him to engage lots of energy to cope with them. Meanwhile, all of this arsenal of topics which appear like hot potatoes for the government, would be an excellent bonus for any opposition in the world to be used for political war. But this is not the case for the Albanian opposition. It’s true that it has issued many declarations where it criticizes the Prime Minister and the government, but that is it. The opposition is not being able to become a spokesperson and to uphold public interests, because it is still part of the problems that have been caused and it has not been able to distance itself from this responsibility. Problems of corruption, bad management and governing incompetence are still part of it and it’s hard for people to believe that its cause will change things. The worst thing in all of this is that with this weak opposition which doesn’t inspire hope, the mockery of people who are in power becomes more noticeable. We have reached a point where the opposition is appointed by the Prime Minister himself.
In a place where everyone is appointed by the Supreme authority, the Leader, there is no democracy. If there is a lack of dynamic, a lack of a clash of ideas and if the citizen is not able to decide through his vote, then this is not a democracy. We can name it however we want it, we can even call it a hybrid democracy, but it’s far from being a democratic society.
Have we come to a point where Prime Minister Rama is also appointing the opposition? In fact, judging by the current state of the Democratic Party, it’s hard to believe that it can be a functional opposition, because the DP is unable to find itself. While the true opponents of leader Basha are still excluded, although there were talks about a unification, it’s hard to think about an internal democracy. And when this happens when being in opposition, at a time when the opposition is supposed to have gathered the message that its votes have dropped, it’s hard to think that in the next parliament we will have a democratic dynamism. The opposition is not made up by numbers, but by the ideas that it articulates. With the current prognosis that we see, then it’s up to Rama to appoint the opposition too.
Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy