Basha, Patozi and the 300 thousand gap

Basha, Patozi and the 300 thousand gap

This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and

By Eduard Zaloshnja

While analyzing the statistical correlation between the “blue” electorate and the “grey” electorate, I built a chart, which illustrates this correlation in a very accurate way (see the chart attached). This chart indicates that when the right wing votes were high in number, the number of people who didn’t go voting was low. Meanwhile, when the number of right wing votes was low, the number of people who didn’t go voting was high.

So, in the 2009 elections, the number of people who voted right wing parties was 740 thousand. Meanwhile, the number of people who did not vote and who were residents in Albania, was only 400 thousand. In 2013, the number of right wing voters came down to 680 thousand and the number of people who chose not to vote remained 400 thousand. But, in 2017, the number of right wing voters registered a dramatic fall–it came down to 460 thousand–while the number of people who decided not to vote was 550 thousand. According to an opinion poll which I carried out at the beginning of March, today, the number of right wing voters is around 480 thousand, while the number of people who chose not to vote is around 700 thousand.
In other words, it can be said that compared to the time when the right wing coalition was led by Berisha, the “blue” electorate has shrunk by 300 thousand, while the “grey” electorate has grown by 300 thousand.

A simple solution for this problem would be to bring back Berisha as head of the party. But things may not be as simple as they look in a chart.

First of all, Berisha has constantly declared that he will never come back to a political post or a state post, besides the post of the MP. And given that he is the typical “highlander” who keeps his word, then it looks impossible for him to break this public promise which he has reiterated in numerous occasions.

Secondly, Berisha’s come back as the head of the right wing coalition, may in fact bring back many former voters to the right wing, but it may also lead to many left wing supporters who are not satisfied, to come back to their party. This way, we would have a growth of the “blue” electorate, but we would also have a growth of the “pink” electorate. And we saw during the 2013 elections (when Berisha was Prime Minister) that the “pink” electorate is greater in numbers than the “blue” electorate”.

Under these conditions, the only way the right wing coalition will achieve the 750 thousand votes once again is for the Democratic Party led by Basha to join forces with the political movement led by Astrit Patozi. But can this really happen?

A few months ago, Patozi and several other former politicians within the ranks of the DP announced a platform to reestablish the DP, on condition that Basha races for the party’s leadership once again. But Basha recently declared that whoever wants to contribute within the Democratic Party, can participate in the National Assembly which will take place in April. In other words, Patozi and the others may participate in the party’s assembly as simple members.

If this refractory stance shown by Basha continues, in spite of Berisha’s repeated calls for cooperation by all right wing politicians since 1990 and onwards, then Patozi and his collaborators will form a new right wing party.

At first glance, one gets the impression that this party will damage the right wing coalition, by taking votes from it. But it’s impossible for this coalition to drop even lower, because in the recent years, it has lost 1/3 of its votes.

If the new party led by Patozi will manage to obtain a significant number of votes in the next elections, these votes will come from the “grey” electorate. They will come from those 300 thousand right wing voters who have left the Democratic Party coalition since 2009.

And if this new right wing party will be able to win the necessary number of seats in the coming elections, Basha may have the chance to forge a coalition with Patozi, instead of forging it with Kryemadhi.

Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy