OP-ED/Revolt or votes?

OP-ED/Revolt or votes?

By Eduard Zaloshnja

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

For the opposition, the new political show season was started by Berisha. (Normally, it should have been started by Lulzim Basha, the party’s chairman, but this is not the point of this article.)

In his first TV appearance, Berisha launched a very powerful message saying that Rama will never leave power through elections and therefore, he should be made to leave through a revolt. In a way, Berisha was launching a call for revolt, similar to the one organized on 14th of September 1998, during which former Prime Minister Fatos Nano fled to neighbouring Macedonia.

However, what Berisha and others, who think like him, should remember is the fact that although Nano fled the country, the country continued to be governed by the Socialist Party for another seven years. Western countries made it very clear that they would never recognize an interim government which would be formed following a revolt. Chances are that this type of government will not be recognized now either.

But is it really impossible for the opposition to defeat Rama in the elections?

Although in last year’s elections, the SP managed to snatch 74 parliamentary seats, this party only obtained 48.5% of the votes. It was the May 18th agreement (God knows why Basha accepted it) which enabled the SP to run on its own against all parties, while other parties did not have sufficient time to form a pre-electoral coalition. If the Democratic Party, Republican Party, Socialist Movement for Integration, PDIU, Libra, etc, had formed a big pre-election coalition, the SP would have never obtained more than 69 seats. In a previous analysis published by Albanian Free Press, based on my calculations, around 110 thousand right wing voters living in urban areas, did not participate in last year’s elections (in rural areas, the analysis becomes quite complicated). There are many reasons which may have forced these right wing voters not to participate in these elections, but one of the main reasons that come into my mind is the sudden turn made by Basha after he held a meeting with Rama on May 18th last year, a few weeks before the elections.

By taking into consideration all that was said above, we could say that the big opposition coalition has the potential to obtain around 900 votes, while the Socialist Party (based on the number of votes obtained last year by this party and its allies) has the potential to obtain around 820 thousand votes. In other words, if all the opposition parties join forces and forge a solid coalition, they have a very good chance to defeat the Socialist Party even if Rama continues to remain Prime Minister.

However, this will be achieved only if there’s will. It’s not easy for parties which differ so much from each other to form a solid coalition and for them to believe that they will not do any scheming at the detriment of each-other. Let us not forget that after the 2015 elections, the Socialist Movement for Integration was very unhappy with its coalition ally, the Socialist Party, because some of its candidates could not win in left wing strongholds. According to the Socialist Movement for Integration, Socialist Party local structures schemed against its candidates, although these were joint candidates.

Today we’re seeing a big opposition coalition taking shape. But, the months to come will really show how this coalition will be in reality. This coalition will undergo a real test when it comes to decide about the joint candidates for the local government elections.

Which municipalities will be left to the SMI? Which ones to PDIU and PBDNJ and so on?

Then, the local government elections will be the real big test for them. If the Socialist Movement for Integration finds out that DP’s local structures have been scheming against this party in municipalities where the joint candidate belongs to SMI, then the coalition will be ruined. And, unless opposition parties join forces against Rama in the parliamentary elections, the latter will certainly win again like he did last year.

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