Local elections, SP and SMI divide the 61 municipalities of Albania

Local elections, SP and SMI divide the 61 municipalities of Albania

IBNA Special Report

In the peak of debates about the accusations that came from within the majority for a suspected plan regarding the murder of two MPs, the two main political forces of the governing left wing, have announced the process of the division of municipalities for the 21 June 2015 elections. Some see it as an effort to veer off attention of the media and public opinion from the “Doshi-Fufi” alleged scandal.

Tirana, March 16, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

On Sunday at noon, SP (Socialist Party) and SMI (Socialist Movement for Integration) signed an agreement for the division of municipalities for the June 21 elections (photo).

Based on this agreement, SMI will come out with its candidates for 15 municipalities or 25% of municipalities on a national level.

The socialist leader, Edi Rama says that he had received the approval of the leader of SMI, Ilir Meta to be negotiator in the talks with other ally parties.

The full list of the names that will run for the 61 municipalities of Albania will be ready until 1 April, a date in which Mr. Meta said that it will become public.

The scheme of acceptations and rejections of candidates

SP and SMI will be entitled to propose candidates, each one for a part of 61 municipalities of the country. For every municipality, the SP will propose a name coming from its ranks or elected by it. This name will be given to SMI. In case SMI accepts, this name will be a joint candidate for both political parties and majority in general. If this name is not accepted by SMI, then the SP will withdraw it and propose a second one and so on, until a name accepted by both parties is found.

The same scheme will also be used for the SMI. It will propose its names for 15 municipalities and if they are accepted by the SP, the candidates will become official. If not, SMI will be obliged to elect other names until they are accepted by the SP.

The SP controls the biggest municipalities

In these local government elections, which are seen as a test for the functioning of the majority and its governing plan, the SP is planning to control the main municipalities.

Tirana will continue to be controlled by a candidate of the SP.

Other cities too, such as Durres, Vlora, Elbasan, Shkoder, Fier, Korca, Saranda, will also be held by the SP. SMI will run in cities such as Berat, Lezha, Gjirokastra and also in small towns such as Vora, Mallakaster, Delvina, Perrenjas, Selenica, Kolonja, Kucova, Skrapar, Kukes and Pogradec. SMI is also expected to be given Bulqiza and Cerrik.

In the municipalities that have been left to SMI, there’s a wide support for this party. In the 2013 parliamentary elections, SMI triumphed in these municipalities, by quadrupling the number of its MPs.

Some say that Rama and Meta have decided a strategy that aims above all the victory of the majority in the most part of 61 municipalities.

The majority is also aiming at consolidating the 2013 victory to prove to the opposition wrong, as the latter claims that the electorate has changed.

Meanwhile, Rama-Meta are also aiming at consolidating SMI’s figures. The quadrupling of votes two years ago, after the fact that for a decade, SMI had not managed to win more than 4 MPs, obliges the left will be more cautious in preserving balances and consolidating the result which at that time surprised many people.

The clash for Tirana

It’s still not know as to who will run in the Municipality of Tirana for the left wing coalition. PM Rama doesn’t rule out a woman candidate for Tirana. In the left wing camp, IBNA learns that the current minister of Education, Lindita Nikolla, former MP and former head of borough 1 in Tirana is a potential nomination. On the other hand, the right wing may have two choices. IBNA learnt that the right wing is looking into the possibility of running the former leader of the Democratic Party, Eduard Selami, who returned two years ago after a 20 year stay in the United States, or Grida Duma, a young politician of the right wing. The current mayor of Tirana and leader of DP, Lulzim Basha is not expected to run for another term. But, next week will be decisive for the nominations. In the recent months, there were rumors that the majority nominee would be the MP of the Socialist Movement for Integration, Monika Kryemadhi, wife of the head of SMI, Ilir Meta, who is also speaker of Parliament. In a recent interview, she has declared that she doesn’t want this post, suggesting that no politicians should be nominated for the post of the mayor of Tirana.

Where do Rama and Basha separate and unite

When Edi Rama was elected mayor of Tirana in 2000 after he left the Ministry of Culture that he chaired for two years, the Albanian metropolis saw changes. Many unlawful constructions were demolished and many high apartment blocks were built. Several streets were paved and many spaces became green.

The façades of apartment blocks were restored and citizens of Tirana perceived a change in all this.

Rama served as mayor for 11 years and lost in 2011 when he tried to be elected for the fourth time, although he had revealed his plan to become PM.

Many people believe that Rama’s golden period was in the first term. During the other two terms, Rama was chairman of SP and it was clearly noticed that work for the improvement of Tirana had come to a halt. Rama partially blamed the right wing government of preventing the municipality investments.

In 2011, Lulzim Basha became mayor of Tirana with the chard of change. He promised ambitious investments, such as a terminal for the interurban bus transport, which is still lacking, the tram which has never existed, the new boulevard, etc.  All of these investments seemed to start when Basha became mayor, but two years later, the government was controlled by the left wing and Basha, like Rama in the past, blames the central government for investments in the capital.

Like Rama, Basha too divided his work between the municipality and party, as for the past two years, he has been chairing the Democratic Party, the largest opposition party that saw a strong defeat in the June 23 general elections.

Citizens had high expectations, skepticism has grown

A poll lasting for several hours that IBNA had in the center of Tirana, was very clear in its result. The majority of respondents were skeptic as to whether Tirana could change for good. Many of them mentioned the hope given by Basha in 2011 and the great disappointment that they felt due to the promises that were not delivered.

A part of them also recall Rama’s glorious period from 2000 until 2004 and the disappointment in the following seven years.

Almost everyone notice how Rama and Basha have focused their energies in the political war and this has a significant impact on the work for which they were elected, to run the biggest municipality in Albania. /ibna/