IBNA Analysis/Majority in Albania breaks. Who will benefit?

IBNA Analysis/Majority in Albania breaks. Who will benefit?

Tirana, 18 July 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

In Albania, the governing majority led by Rama and Meta seems to be coming to an end and this not as a result of the opposition, but as a result of the disagreements within the left wing.

Speaker of Parliament, Ilir Meta who leads the second largest political party of the coalition, SMI, announced for the first time on Sunday the plan to disperse parliament  and overthrow the government.

Mr. Meta spoke of a parliament which he considered as a den of criminals that must leave the place to another one and that PM Rama’s cabinet must fall and be replaced by a technical government made up of experts, which will take the country to early elections.

Mr. Meta’s declarations were unexpected and are seen by analysts as a proper rupture of the majority.

Everything is happening at the peak of debates and negotiations for the reform in justice.

Rama as leader of the majority and Basha as leader of the opposition, are trying to find a solution in order for the reform to be passed in parliament on 21 July.

The USA and EU have strongly rallied in favor of this, especially the US ambassador, Donald Lu and the EU ambassador, Romana Vlahutin.

But so far everyone has spoken and nobody has announced the news of consensus.

At this point, Meta intervenes as if he wants to put a lid on everything with an iron hand.

This was clearly seen in Mr. Meta’s media appearance. He warned that for the sake of compromise, he’s ready to resign as speaker of Parliament and the ministers of the party that he leaders, to resign from the government cabinet.

On the other hand, Mr. Meta s aid that he was ready for a meeting between him, Rama, Basha, Lu and Vlahutin. But Meta said that if consensus is not reached, none of them would come out with the post that they hold.

“Consensus is necessary to be achieved and all five of us must be locked into a room or  all five of us must come out in front of the Albanian citizens to deliver this reform or identify the guilty side for the reform”, Mr. Meta said.

The speaker of Parliament and SMI also stopped on the hybrid proposal made by Mr. Lu, which was conveyed to Albanian politicians by the US Assistant State Secretary, Victoria Nuland. Meta said that he backed this incentive, “but consensus is necessary to be achieved”, clarifying that he’s against the American plan that the reform in the judicial system must even be passed with individual votes on 21 July, without the consensus between majority and opposition.

US-EU ambassadors impose a condition on Meta

A few hours after Meta’s appearance came the reactions by Lu and Vlahutin. They said that they agreed on all five meeting, but demanded for the talks to be held based on the hybrid proposal alone.

Mr. Rama reacted immediately after them, ready for fresh negotiations:

“I’m ready to sit at any moment in the round table proposed by Ilir Meta. Any face to face discussion for the reform in the judicial system until 21 July is worthy”.

Meanwhile, on Monday morning (18.07) came the opposition’s leader reaction. He backed “Meta’s plan” for fresh elections. “I and the DP have considered and consider the possibility of creating a technical government as a necessity for holding free and honest elections and to put an end to the crisis that has engulfed the country”, Basha said confirming that he welcomes Mr. Meta’s stance “for the creation of a technical government which will hold free and honest elections in the country”.

Basha also comments Meta’s unexpected movement. “The fact that a majority party joins in its way and autonomy the opposition’s option, clearly shows that this is the only path, in circumstances of an extreme degradation of the government, for political parties to compete in a fair and free way in the elections, by leaving the decision in the hands of the people”.

Calculations, who wins out of this scenario

In case the government falls and early elections are held, the options as to who wins seem easy to be calculated, but also very complicated. Some say that the failure of the voting of the reform in justice gives extra points to the head of the SP, Edi Rama. In such scenario, Rama demands early elections and heads without SMI in them. By calculating the numbers, in the 140 seat parliament, Rama can try and win 71 seats in order to create a government and then try to approve the reform in justice by either “buying” the other votes, or by making concessions to the opposition.

In Meta’s scenario, things look clearly in his favor. He is aiming to make it easier for himself to become Prime Minister: He calls for the reform in justice to be passed with consensus alone and disperses parliament. A technical government is created and this government prepares the early elections. Meta enters the elections without the SP and DP in coalition, but joins smaller parties. In such scenario, he manages to secure at best 40 seats and assumes a key role for the new government.  In this point, it is he who decides if he will be in a coalition with the SP or DP and who will lead the government. And in such case, Meta has a great desire to be Prime Minister once again, like he was in 1999.

The opposition too has a scenario for the upcoming elections. In case fresh elections are held, alone or with the traditional allies, it will try to win 71 seats, which so far seems difficult. The dilemma then is if Basha would be willing to go back into a coalition with Meta.

What’s more, the dilemma would relate to the name of the head of the government, Basha or Meta.

Important constitutional amendments that not everyone knows

An opinion poll carried out in the country showed that 91% of Albanians want the reform in justice. The rest was against or indifferent.

However, only a small part of them know the details of the reform. Even fewer know that along with it also changes almost the entire Constitution of the country, which has been approved through a people’s referendum in 1998.  These are essential amendments that relate to the main principles of the rule of law and of a democratic country.

This would be a new Constitution, there would be new institutions, a new president, a new parliament.

If this reform is passed, many institutions will be new and other existing ones will be restructured.  They will bear the main weight of the success or failure of this reform. A reform which is not approved for the next elections, but at least for the next 30 years. /balkaneu.com/