OP-ED/Basha is unable to lead the opposition

OP-ED/Basha is unable to lead the opposition

This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.albanianfreepress.al

By  Eduard Zaloshnja

A while ago, we had the so called “Babale” case, which prompted the opposition to hold a protest in the center of Tirana. However, few opposition supporters decided to participate in it and half of them were seeking shelter from the sun under the trees.

Recently we had the so called “Toyta Yaris” affair where the leader of the opposition revealed information regarding an international police operation. He either did this to gain politically from confidential information or played the fool in an attempt to warn the group that was transporting the illegal money that was hidden in a Toyta Yaris.

After this, Lulzim Basha is once again urging opposition supporters to gather in the center of Tirana. But, chances are that many opposition supporters will once again try and seek shelter under the trees.

After he was elected leader of opposition (in 2013, the opposition had been voted by 680 thousand people), Lulzim Basha reduced the number of votes to 460 thousand (in 2017). Out of despair, he’s now using all kinds of techniques to gain public support. But, the opposition cannot be led through these kinds of techniques.

The opposition needs a consistent leader who criticizes the government constantly (and there’s plenty of room for criticism). The opposition needs a leader who offers solutions for the problems of the country (different to those offered by the government) and who can be easily identified by opposition voters as a man who has similar political convictions and ideas that he has.

Since his agreement with Rama in May 2017, Basha has sometimes made truce with the government and sometimes attacked it. Prior to the 2017 elections, there was a lot of talk about a post electoral big coalition between the Democratic Party and the Socialist Party. This had something to do with the soft electoral campaign that Basha held, where the main target of his attacks were the Socialist Movement for Integration Party and the Cham party. Today, one of Basha’s closest people once again launched the idea of a big coalition, which should govern Albania until the start of the negotiations with the EU.

This is what has led to the numerous declarations made by Astrit Patozi, according to which the agreement reached between Rama and Basha on 17 May still remains in force. According to him, Basha and the people around him are gaining favors from the head of the government every time a concession is granted or permission for a new skyscraper in Tirana is given.

It’s surprising to see how Basha’s Democratic Party has not attacked the company in charge of the maintenance of the Albania-Kosovo highway, despite the fact that citizens of Kukes set fire to its investment at the entry of Kalimash tunnel. It’s also surprising to see how Basha’s DP has not attacked the biggest skyscraper in Tirana which is being built by the same company. The same thing also goes for several other high towers being built in different locations in the capital.

In order for the right wing coalition to recover (to go back to where Berisha left it, 680 thousand votes), Basha needs 220 thousand extra votes. Even if he manages to recover these 220 thousand votes,  they will not be enough to bring back the Democratic Party in power.

Perhaps, the best chance that the DP would have is to replace Basha with another leader…

Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy