This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.afp.al
By Eduard Zaloshnja
If general elections were to be held today, the number of voters resident in Albania, who are ready to vote current parties, would be 150 thousand smaller than the number of those who turned out in last year’s elections.
This was the finding of this month’s electronic survey, as part of the surveys that I’ve carried out in the recent months for a magazine which is published here in English. The respondents answered to these two questions (by clicking on them):
Who would you vote if elections were to be held today?
5- I don’t know/I don’t vote
Who did you vote in June 2017?
5- I didn’t vote.
The survey was conducted with 2150 respondents all over the country, in order to represent the Albanian voters as good as possible demographically and politically. The maximum margin of error in this survey was +/-2.2%.
The drop in turnout doesn’t seem to have favored any party, because with the current turnout, 51% of the votes would be obtained by PS+PSD, 34% of votes would be obtained by PD+PR+etc, 12% of votes would be obtained by LSI and 3% of votes would be obtained by PDIU+etc .
After analyzing the answers given by respondents, we come to the conclusion that the drop in turnout has mainly been the result of the shrinking of small parties (LSI, PDIU, LIBRA, FRD, CHALLENGE, PDS etc.). For every 100 respondents who had voted these parties last year, only 63 of them are ready to vote them today. And this is explained by the fact that political parties such as LIBRA, Challenge, FRD and PDS, have almost been dissolved, while LSI and PDIU are no longer in power.
To summarize, over ¾ of the 150 thousand voters who have joined the ranks of undecided voters, voted small parties last year, but today, they are not prepared to vote any of the current parties. And this is a serious problem for the DP.
In order for the DP to hope for a comeback in power, it needs to gather around itself all of those who are unhappy with the government. But, the ones who are unhappy with the government do not join this party; instead, they join the ranks of undecided voters. The number of undecided voters has seen a growth since the day the SP came in power. And it’s not the SP who has suffered from this, but the opposition.
So, in the 2013 elections, the number of voters resident in Albania who decided not to vote, was around 400 thousand. In the 2017 elections, this number was 550 thousand, meaning, it increased by 150 thousand. Meanwhile, the DP and other small parties around it, lost around 200 thousand votes. Those parties that saw a significant (compared to 2013) was LSI (with 45 thousand votes) and PDIU (with 30 thousand votes).
Currently, the drop of turnout as opposed to 2013 is 300 thousand. Meanwhile, the SP (along with its small ally, PSD) would obtain 51% of the votes, while PD would only obtain 34%.
Experience in democratic countries shows that when discontent against the government grows, there’s a growing number of people willing to vote the opposition. Meanwhile, in here, we only see a growth of the number of undecided voters.
Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy