This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.albanianfreepress.al
By ROLAND QAFOKU
Edi Rama did not leave even after the ninth demonstration organized by the opposition. The opposition filled the main boulevard of the capital for four hours in a row, while promising that Edi Rama would leave. However, protests are turning into a normal thing now and they’re not bringing any results. On the other hand, we have a ruling party, which although it has been voted by 1 million people and although it has a clear majority in parliament, seems disoriented and arrogant. But why is it that we find ourselves in a situation where the opposition is not being able to achieve its goal, while the government is not defending its actions?
We could say that the opposition has not yet found the necessary mechanism to put the majority in difficulty. Whatever it does, nothing is more serious than the extreme decision to boycott parliament. Of course these protests have seen a massive participation and they’ve attracted lots of attention among international media, but up until today, they don’t seem to have put the government into any difficulty. Edi Rama continues to govern the country despite the fact that Lulzim Basha has organized 9 demonstrations in an attempt to convince him to resign. The opposition has not been able to gain the trust of those people who sometimes vote the right wing and sometimes vote the left wing. Meanwhile, the second problem with the opposition has to do with the fact that it doesn’t have the support of the international community. Although some reports have been quite critical about the government, in particular the State Department’s report, US diplomacy has openly declared that it’s against the opposition’s decision to relinquish parliamentary mandates and to boycott the 30 June local elections. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Matthew Palmer was clear about this and the opposition leader cannot ignore his statements. Another hard blow that the opposition received by US diplomacy has to do with the reform in the judicial system. The opposition continues to contest this reform, while the US continues to support it. The opposition must be clear about the fact that it can never win a political battle if it does not have the support of the US. We don’t really know how this will change, but the fact that opposition has organized 9 protests so far without producing any effect, doesn’t leave much room for optimism.
On its part, the majority seems as disorientated as the opposition. What Matthew Palmer said during his visit, cannot be considered as support for the good work that the government is doing. It’s true that the government is legitimate and duly elected, but this majority cannot feel proud of its performance so far. We could mention two recent reports: The first one issued by the US State Department states that Albania is a country where large quantities of cannabis are produced, a country that acts as a transit point for hard drugs, while also being a haven for money laundering. The second report was issued by the Swedish institute Health Consumer Powerhouse. According to this report, Albania is last in Europe as far as healthcare services are concerned. These reports would be enough for Edi Rama and the supporters of this government to give up arrogance, show more maturity and show that they’re able to solve this political crisis. But this not what is really happening. PM Rama, the head of the parliamentary group, Taulant Balla and those few who praise this government, make it look as if Albanians are living in paradise. The government has failed in many sectors. 10 million euros are robbed at gunpoint in the country’s international airport, while the Socialist Party says that police should be commended for reacting in record time.
OPPOSITION AND MAJORITY
Whatever happens, the solution that the crisis is going through can only be solved by way of an agreement. The Italian ambassador, Alberto Cutillio was the first diplomat to urge dialogue between the two sides. Although it looked as if he ignored the opposition and supported the government, even Matthew Palmer said something which looked as if it went unnoticed. He articulated the word “crisis” and despite the majority’s attempts to call it a “political crisis”, the country is actually going through a crisis and this has also been confirmed by the US. This is why it’s necessary that the two political leaders engage in dialogue and find a solution. And to be able to achieve this, they need to make concessions. They need to be honest and trust each other. But the fact that is not being done shows that Rama and Basha are preventing the country from advancing. They’re even able to achieve what Nano and Berisha managed to achieve, despite the fact that they belonged to a different period. History will show that Rama and Basha had the chance to contribute for the country’s prosperity. What they’ve done instead is take us back to a conflicting political period. These two people are ready to burn the country down to protect their personal interests and Albanians do not deserve this.
Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy