Tirana, 10 February 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Edison Kurani
A debate has broken out in the recent days within the Socialist Party, the main force of the left wing majority which has been governing Albania for three years now and this debate relates to its bylaws.
Some say that since 2005, when the SP was taken over by the current PM, Edi Rama, many articles of the bylaws have been regularly violated and in a repeated manner.
Some of the main figures who launch criticism against the leader of the party, Rama, is Ben Blushi MP, former minister of Local Government in the cabinet of former leader of the Socialist Party, Fatos Nano.
Blushi: The bylaws of the Socialist Party have been violated in at least 30% of the articles
The socialist MP, Ben Blushi, who is also an official candidate for the leader of the Socialist Party, says that the current leadership of this party has violated the bylaws in at least one third of the articles.
Former minister of Local Government accuses the socialist leader and prime minister Edi Rama of being the mastermind and the perpetrator of the violations of the SP bylaws.
Ben Blushi has submitted to the parliamentary group of his party a document, which according to him, proves that “the SP bylaws have been violated in at least 30% of the articles”.
According to Blushi, the law on political parties in Albania has been violated in its essence, the spirit of Constitution has been violated while the SP is not holding elections and its internal democracy has been threatened in many articles, when it’s been seven years that its leader has an illegitimate mandate and when the party’s forums have not gathered in three years”.
Mr. Blushi also mentions other violations that according to him have taken place: The SP forums do not gather for three years, elections have not taken place for five years, thus violating every deadline of the bylaws, etc.
Blushi also says that the principle of the incompatibility of mandates has been violated, as half of the members of the steering committee are ministers or secretaries, “thus, their mandates are non compatible”.
Blushi says that the principle of accountability is also lacking, while adding that there is no transparency whatsoever in terms of the funding that the SP receives from businesses.
For Mr. Blushi, this debate within the SP is not an internal debate which only belongs to this party, but it’s an essential debate.
“Can Albania be a country with developed democracy when political parties are not democratic? Can there be justice, a developed economy, credible institutions, a decriminalized parliament if political parties are not open, do not hold elections, if they threaten the rights of their members, if they turn into a private business and welcome people with criminal records due to the need for suspicious funding?”, are some of the questions that Mr. Blushi addresses.
SP against Blushi: Unnecessary investment, there are more important priorities
Prime Minister Edi Rama and other socialist figures, ministers or MPs, have justified the lack of elections for the party leader since the autumn of 2013 with the motive that the model of British labors has been adopted and according to this model, the heads of the party are reconfirmed in case of the victory of the elections.
But the current bylaws of the SP do not contain such option. Socialist MP, Blerina Gjylameti says that this issue will be handled by the congress, which is expected to gather in March 2016.
“This issue will be addressed even though the majority think that the party must follow the Labor Party model, where the party chairman, who is at the same time prime minister and who has a contract with the citizens, is not dictated by the party’s statute”, Mrs. Gjylameti says.
On the other hand, she insists that the SP must not invest in such processes, but must have other priorities.
“Given that we have colleagues who are worried about the priorities that we should have and according to them, these priorities are the elections within the SP and good governance and parliamentary life not that much, we are expecting the decision of the Congress about the way how the elections for the Socialist Party chairman will be addressed”, Gjylameti says, indirectly attacking her colleague, Blushi.
Hafizi, the first voice within the SP Parliamentary Group in Blushi’s favor
In the recent days, Mr. Blushi has constantly launched accusations on the press and in the meetings of the SP. According to him, the leadership is exerting psychological terror against the MPs that support him, by threatening them of firing their relatives from their workplaces. The socialist MP, Mimoza Hafizi is the first member of the Parliamentary Group and so far, the only one to publicly support Mr. Blushi.
Hafizi says that she’s not afraid of declaring this and adds that her profession is that of a university professor and that she’s not worried about a possible vengeance and that she’s determined about her political stance, in spite of the political costs.
“My personal fate is not linked to the political life. I also have the university life, but I believe on my cause and freedom to say things like they should be done. If we don’t talk, things in Albania will not change. I am not threatened and I have entered politics to bring the best of what I can do. Thus, there are no personal threats for me. Even if I was threatened, it’s worthwhile to take a risk if you believe on your cause”.
Dr. Hafizi says that she will support Blushi, especially in the aspect of being elected as chairman of the SP: “I will hold a constant discussion with all of my colleagues in order to introduce the article for the election of the party leader in the proceedings of the next congress.”
Analysts comment the debate within the SP
Several opinion makers have offered their insights about the debate for the elections within the SP.
Analyst Ilir Yzeiri is very critical of Rama’s work in these three years. According to him, in this situation, “Ben Blushi is trying to rescue what is left of the SP, by identifying the serious crisis where his prime minister has led the country by raising the alarm about the corruptive and criminal model with which Edi Rama governs”.
Yzeiri has his doubts as to whether Blushi will make it: “Blushi knows that it is difficult and impossible to destroy Rama’s model, but this doesn’t mean that he must give up”.
According to Yzeiri, Blushi’s movement “is in line with the public opinion and critical voices within the Albanian society”.
For Yzeiri, “Blushi is the last chance that the SP has as a great political force to stop the corruptive and mediocre model of Edi Rama”.
Hoxha: Rama is not afraid of Blushi, but from the SP
Meanwhile journalist Poli Hoxha penetrates deeper into the consequences of this debate. “The situation around Rama is more serious than it looks like. An entire army has been mobilized in order to defend the chairman and denigrate Blushi and whoever defends him. The more this debate intensifies, the clearer it is that Rama is not afraid of a rival candidate or Blushi, but of the Socialist Party itself”.
Poli Hoxhi says that in these 11 years as head of the SP, Rama “with a perfect plan has managed to change the traditional leadership at the center and base, cementing his position up to an extent whereby each time there have been elections, he has remained the head of the party”.
“But Rama seems to have realized that the SP is not that easy to make it his. He has not turned it into a non profit organization although he has planned this for 11 years”, Hoxha says.
Hoxha says that the SP “is a national asset – with gold, copper and other scrap materials inside – and along with other large parties, it is one of the columns of the system”.
Majko: Blushi is right, but he’s causing damages
Former Prime Minister, Pandeli Majko says that he’s against Blushi in relation to the debate that he has caused within the Socialist Party, although “he’s right in his criticism for violations of the Socialist Party bylaws”.
“I believe that the problems which have been pointed out by Blushi in relation to the bylaws are founded. It is true that there are violations. But I have supported the well governance of the country. Based on this, I think my colleague is right in relation to the bylaws”.
However, Majko says that in spite of the fact that the bylaws have been violated, good governance must be seen as a justification.
‘Since 2013, we have received the votes of the public and in 2015, we were voted to govern on a local level. We have violated principles, but good governance prevails on them”.
Majko sees Blushi’s political future with skepticism. “He has been a very wise man, but to be honest with you, his aim is to become a writer. I don’t know if what he’s doing is the beginning of his end.” /ibna/