Albania has been swept by a political crisis which has been going on for months now. Elections have been scheduled to take place on June 30, but the opposition has confirmed that it will not take part in them. The opposition has also declared that it will not allow these elections to be held. The opposition says that it will only take part in these elections if an interim government is formed in order to take the country to early general elections.
On the other hand, the majority insists that local elections will be held on the date decreed by the president. They say that there will be no early elections and that neither the government, nor the PM will resign. Socialist Party MP, Andrea Marto analyzes these developments in this interview for Independent Balkan News Agency Media Group, part of which is IBNA news agency, Albanian Free Press and Nezavisen Vesnik. Mr. Marto says that the opposition has embarked on a dangerous adventure.
How do you consider the decision of the opposition group not to take part in the June 30 local elections? Was this the right decision and does it have an impact on the opening of accession talks?
Of course the decision taken by the Democratic Party and its allies to boycott local elections will have a negative impact on the image of the country and the EU integration process. This is also one of the reasons for the boycott. The opposition wanted to prevent the negotiations from being opened. The decision to boycott elections will certainly damage the DP and the other political parties which are following it in this dangerous adventure, but this is their problem. Public opinion is more worried about the damage that this is causing to the country and its European future.
Does the creation of the Democratic Conviction Party damage the DP in terms of votes? Why was this party created?
The Democratic Conviction Party, which includes many prominent figures of the DP will certainly damage the DP. The creation of this party came as a result of the attitude of the Democratic Party, which culminated with the decision for mass resignation from parliament. The success of this new party will depend on its political action. The miserable state in which a part of the opposition finds itself in today will enable other opposition players to succeed.
United opposition declared that it will continue protests. Will they bring something new?
Based on the latest declarations that have been made, protests will continue and roads will be blocked. Demonstrations ruin the image of the country. They also damage tourism. But these demonstrations do not bring anything new, apart from disrupting people’s day to day business and weakening the political parties that organize them.
In addition to the protests, the democrat leader Lulzim Basha is also drafting an electoral program which is focused on the first 100 days of the Democratic Party in power. What’s your take on this?
This is the biggest farce I’ve ever seen. Its only scope is to deceive militants in order for them to be active in these gatherings.
Can local elections be held under these circumstances and to what extent will the situation have an impact on the opening of accession talks?
Local elections will be held on the date they’ve been scheduled and a number of political forces will take part in it. It would be best if all political parties take part in it, but a part of the opposition has chosen boycott, something which certainly damages the elections and the integration process.
Will the DP-led coalition remain solid and will it work?
The opposition coalition seems determined not to take part in the elections. This is unprecedented and anti-democratic. Although deadlines are expiring, the coalition against the election should give up from issuing ultimatums and seek an opportunity to be part of the electoral race. This would normalize the political situation and help the opposition come back into the democratic system where it could play a constructive role.
How do you see the appeal of the international community for participation in the elections?
The position of all international partners has been clear. They’ve condemned the opposition’s actions and have appealed for participation in local elections.