Hard or soft line for the new opposition in Albania? The dilemma of the new leader of the DP

Hard or soft line for the new opposition in Albania? The dilemma of the new leader of the DP

IBNA Special Report/The current Minister of Transport, Sokol Olldashi is aiming to take over the post abdicated by the acting Prime Minister, Sali Berisha. He demonstrates the hard line by accusing the new majority of extremism and theft. Strong accusations launched against SMI, which was a partner in government for 4 years. The current mayor of Tirana talks of a moral majority of the DP in opposition, he doesn’t attack SMI

Tirana, July 12, 2013 – By Edison Kurani

The big defeat in the June 23, 2013 general election obliged the leader of the Democratic Party to resign from this post and to announce new elections within the party. The race was entered by two important names of the DP, current Minister of Transport, Sokol Olldashi, who is an MP and the current mayor of Tirana, Lulzim Basha, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, former Minister of Transports and former Minister of Interior during the 8 years of the departing Prime Minister of Sali Berisha.

When there are only 10 days remaining from July 22, a day when the Democratic Party will hold elections for the new leader, the two candidates are facing a great dilemma as to what will be the most functional strategy, that of the hard line or the soft line.

By observing the speeches that the two candidates are holding during the campaign that they’re conducting throughout Albania, one would notice that one of them is strongly attacking the party which for four years was part of a coalition with the DP, while the other is more careful.

Sokol Olldashi MP accuses the Socialist Movement for Integration of being a party which has bought the votes, winning in total 16 seats in parliament, or 4 times more than in the past elections.

Olldashi addresses many accusations against the head of SMI

Sokol Olldashi calls for a unification of the opposition. “The Democratic Party must open its doors for all opposition factors in order to build a safe foundation for a victory in the next electoral race”.

This call comes at a time when the former President of Republic, Bamir Topi didn’t return to this party once his term in office ended, but founded the New Democratic Spirit Party. This party could not win any seats in the Parliament which is expected to start its work in September.

Sokol Olldashi, candidate for the post of the Democratic Party of Albania calls the new majority a corrupt one and says that the leader of SMI, Ilir Meta is the leader of a thieving party:

“In front of us we have the majority of Edi Rama, a man who has been tested for building a power driven by clients and corruption. Part of the power of Edi Rama is also SMI of Ilir Meta, which is neither a political party, nor a political formation, but a group of thieves”, said Mr. Olldashi.

Mr. Meta is expected to be speaker of Parliament in the month of September. He has been one of the key names of the Socialist Party and Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001, but after being accused by the leader of the SP, Fatos Nano, he resigned.

From 2009 until 2013 his party was in coalition with the DP in power. Meta was deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. But, a video footage that an MP of his party, Dritan Prifti, revealed in a TV network, cast doubts on his involvement in a financial affair amounting to 700 thousand Euros.

This accusation was never admitted by Ilir Meta. A few days after the publication of the video, the Socialist Party called for a demonstration against him in front of the building of the Council of Ministers. The protest was misused by a small part of the demonstrators who attacked police with strong objects. The reaction of security forces and Republican Guard was tough. Under unclear circumstances, 4 protestors remained killed from the fire that was opened against the crowd.

Prime Minister Berisha’s government defended Ilir Meta and considered the protest a coup d’etat.

The court held a trial for the process of January 21, 2011, but the truth was never discovered. Ilir Meta was acquitted for lack of evidence.

On the other hand, Dritan Prifti who denounced the video, was discovered to have in his possession another video which was made public on TV and which incriminated him in an affair involving a large amount of money. Even for him, the court ruled that proof was lacking for his indictment.

During these two years until the June elections, Ilir Meta kept SMI attached to the right wing coalition, while a few weeks before the elections, he announced an agreement with Edi Rama for an 8 year governing coalition.

Basha: Legal advice for those who are fired from work

While there are two months remaining for the new majority to take over power, the leader of the Socialist Party, Edi Rama announced an application form which must be filled online at the website of the Socialist Party. Rama called upon people to apply for work in the administration.

But this novelty of Mr. Rama has caused debates. The most important question addressed by analysis is: How can you launch a competition in the party for vacancies in the administration, while the administration has no vacancies and while it has not opened new jobs?

This announcement has been seen by the acting Prime Minister as a low revenge. The new opposition says that such announcements show irresponsibility. The government considers Mr. Rama’s incentive as illegal and has called for nobody from the administration to be removed from their position.

Given that working in the state administration has become the topic of the day, the candidate for the chairman of the Democratic Party, Lulzim Basha has presented a platform to stop the strategy of Mr. Rama, which according to Basha aims to carry out a cleansing in the administration.

Basha has considered the competition launched by Edi Rama as anti-state and says that this is only a tender to employ militants. “This is an unprecedented case in the democratic world”, said Basha on Friday.

Basha has promised the mobilization of the best lawyers in the country to protect every employee who is removed in an abusive way from work.

“On a daily basis, through a network of lawyers, the Democratic Party will prove through facts before every court the injustices of these decisions, to turn them into legal consequences, to reinstate these people to work, to compensate them and to use these actions for political credit in order to shorten the days in power of these insatiable people”, said Basha.

Thus, it seems that the two candidates, Olldashi and Basha have positioned themselves in two strategies. The first one attacks the left wing coalition by attacking SMI, without which the new government would not function, while the second directly attacks the Socialist Party and its plans to remove civil servants from work.

On July 22, around 110 thousand members of the Democratic Party throughout the country will vote for the two candidates. On July 23 the public will learn the name of the one who will replace the historical leader, Sali Berisha. /ibna/