In this interview given to IBNA, the chairman of the Democratic Christian Alliance Party comments the recent political movements in Albania.
The main Albanian opposition party announced that it’s abandoning its parliamentary mandates and the same decision was also endorsed by the allies. This is a normal thing to do in a democratic state and what is the effect of this initiative on Albanian politics?
This sort of situation is unthinkable in Europe. Parliament is the voice of every party’s voter. A question arises: is this decision acceptable for democrat voters? Do they agree with the fact that their voice will not be heard in parliament? The mandate does not belong to the MP, it belongs to the voters who voted him. They have the power to take the mandate from him. This is the reason why this is a difficult process.
So, you don’t consider it to be a fair initiative?
In my opinion, this initiative is not appropriate for a democratic country. As far as the protest is concerned, I support it because it’s an entirely different thing. Every organization or political party may organized a protest when there’s bad governance. Protests are a good thing, because they aim at holding the government accountable for its actions.
The ruling party claims that the protest turned violent. What is your take on this?
I don’t agree with the ruling party’s propaganda. It claims that the protest was violent, but we’re seeing more violent protests in other countries of the world. The Yellow Vests in France have turned more violent. We’ve seen the same violent scenes in Serbia where the opposition is demanding the president’s resignation. I don’t think the fact that a few windows were broken can be considered as violence. This was a protest that lasted only five hours. What can we say about the protests in France which are lasting for months now?
The protest came as a sign of discontent about the way the Socialist Party is governing. Do you think the situation is that serious?
Yes, the government has made many mistakes. But the same can also be said about the Democratic Party when it was in power. The opposition’s duty is to protest and send a clear message to the government that it cannot act irresponsibly with the taxpayers’ money. So yes, there are mistakes, protests are good, but there’s no need to take it to the extreme through the use of violence.
Do you think that this may threaten the opening of EU accession talks in June?
Of course it will. One of the requirements of this process is for free and fair local government elections to be held. The EU has also told authorities in the country that the negotiations will not open if the electoral reform is not passed before election date. The European Parliament’s resolution approved by 470 MEPs requires the government and opposition in Albania to change the electoral law before elections take place. But so far, we’ve seen none of this.
Do you think that free and fair elections could take place without the electoral reform?
How can they be free and fair if the Central Election Commission is controlled by the two biggest parties? Who knows where the votes that small parties win will go? The problem is that the two largest parties do not allow small parties to have their say in important decisions.
Do you think that this situation will lead to early general elections?
Even if elections are held, if there’s no electoral reform, nothing will change. This is absolutely necessary for the situation to change. It was the Albanian parliament’s job to implement the European Parliament’s resolution, but it looks like our parliament doesn’t really take it into consideration.