By Roland Qafoku
It’s been three months now since the opposition decided to resign from parliament. During this period, we’ve seen 4 large demonstrations taking place in central Tirana, 10 protests taking place in front of parliament, while national routes have been blocked twice. On the other hand, police have arrested around 100 people. What is the result of the opposition’s actions? Is the opposition’s cause fair? Has this political action had an impact on politics and on Albanian society? What has this political action brought and what is it expected to bring in the future?
1.The opposition’s political action has brought a political crisis. Although the majority insists that this is merely a “political situation”, this is actually a political crisis. Matthew Palmer considered it as a political crisis. The truth is that the situation in the country is going through a gridlock, while this is having an impact in many areas, especially in economy.
2.The opposition’s political action has really shaken Albanian politics. The opposition seems to be more solid and more eager to be active. Recent opinion polls have suggested an improvement of opposition’s approval ratings. From a lethargic opposition, we’re now seeing an opposition which has started to inspire people. But the majority has also been shaken. From a self-confident ruling party which behaved in an arrogant manner, all of a sudden, this ruling party is finally seeing that there’s a crisis in the country, which it needs to cope with. Under these circumstances, the majority has launched several initiatives to respond to the opposition, however, these reactions are truly ridiculous.
3.The opposition’s political action has put the majority into difficulty. Despite the fact that the majority tries to play it down, it’s clear that it’s facing difficulties in the way it is functioning. A parliament which has socialist lawmakers in it and other MPs who were selected from the candidate lists, make this a rather abnormal situation to be in.
4.The opposition’s political action has also shaken society. Perhaps not to the extent the opposition was expecting it, but what we can say for sure is that Albanian society prior to February 18 was different to Albanian society after 18 February. There are now more intellectuals who are interested on offering their insight regarding this issue.
5.The opposition’s political action will also have an impact on the way Albanian politics functions. However, whatever solution this action produces, its effect on the future will be positive.
6.Last, but not least, is the fact that the opposition’s political action has brought a situation whereby if the majority holds the elections without the opposition, they will be voided. If this is the case, the June 30 elections would be the most shameful ones in the 98 year old history of elections in Albania. The majority needs to realize that there can never be elections without the opposition.
1.The opposition’s political action has not been able to have an effect on the international community. US and European diplomacies have not been convinced by the opposition’s actions despite the issues it has raised. Regardless of the fact that the opposition has often claimed that it has the US’ support, US senior official Matthew Palmer made it clear that the opposition had made a mistake by resigning from parliament and that the June 30 elections should be held. On the other hand, the US embassy to Tirana has stated more than once that it encourages the political sides to register in the elections. All of this goes to show that this opposition has been unable to convince foreign diplomats about its actions. No political crisis in Albania has been solved without the involvement of foreign diplomats, in particular the Americans.
2.The opposition’s political action has not been supported by undecided voters. The opposition has 150 thousand official members. We have not seen this number go up during the demonstrations that the opposition has held so far. It’s true that the opposition protests have been supported by different interest groups, but the big change comes from the intellectuals who have not been involved during these protests. Therefore, undecided voters, who also determine the winner, have not offered their support for the opposition.
3.The opposition’s political action to relinquish mandates was not efficient. The protests could have continued without the need to resort to this extreme act. All other actions, that followed the decision to boycott parliament, have been insignificant. Such decision could be used by every opposition political force in the future to boycott parliament. This is an absurd and unprecedented decision in Albania and Europe too.
4.The opposition’s political action led to a replacement of resigned MPs by lawmakers from the opposition’s ranks. This shows that this political force is lacking loyalty from within its ranks.
5.The opposition’s political action has led the opposition into a vicious circle from which it cannot come out. Nobody knows what will happen. Neither DP, nor SMI are able to make a prediction of the future of this political action. The opposition’s action has not brought a final solution to this situation. Both the opposition and society find themselves in limbo. This action could either make or break the opposition.
6.The opposition’s action was not associated with an effective media strategy. This opposition, which accuses the government of controlling the media and a lack of freedom of information, is not even able to convince journalists that this opposition will be different from this majority if it comes into power. A part of the opposition’s representatives manifest an arrogant behaviour with reporters, while a selective approach is being shown with the media. This is unacceptable for an opposition which claims that it will change the system.