Prominent names left out of the leading structures of Albanian opposition

Prominent names left out of the leading structures of Albanian opposition

IBNA Special Report

Tirana, December 1, 2014/ Independent Balkan News Agency

The Democratic Party, the largest opposition party in Albania, elected on late Sunday evening, its leading structures and the two vice chairmen of the party and the leading committee of the parliamentary group.

The new leading committee of DP is missing almost all the names which up until last year, were the heads of DP and this was expected because they bear the weight of the big defeat in the June 2013 elections.

The majority of the 31 leading figures are former second level officials in Berisha’s government. Meanwhile, among those elected, there’s also the odd former founder of the party.

The vice chairmen and general secretary

Around 280 members of the DP National Committee, voted the new names of this party, which counts 105 thousand members. The two vice chairmen were elected through open voting, while the others, through secret voting.

The current chairman of the DP parliamentary group, Edi Paloka, was elected first vice chairman, while the economist, Edmond Spaho was elected second vice chairman. These two officials have been appointed in these posts for the past two years.

Arben Ristani, former chairman of the Central Election Commission who in the past two years, also served as deputy Interior Minister, was elected general secretary.

Ristani’s election in this high post is seen as a reward for his decisive role as head of CEC, when the left opposition was denied the right to open the ballot boxes following suspicions for electoral fraud.

Other posts

Two of the main posts of the DP were snatched by Enno Bozdo and Nevila Xhindi, vice mayors of Tirana, which is led by the democrat leader, Lulzim Basha.

Two other posts have been given to two people close to former PM Berisha, his son in law, Jamarber Malltezi and his former advisor, Suzana Guxholli.

Another post was given to Dr. Tritan Shehu, who 20 years ago was chairman of this party. The rest of the leading posts are controlled by several vice ministers in Berisha’s cabinet and new entries. Commenting the electoral process in the DP, its leader, Lulzim Basha said that the new team “will work on a daily basis in order to intensify and strengthen the political opposition action of the party”.

A new slogan arrives, “A new start”

Mr. Basha also launched the new slogan of the DP, “A new start”. “The new team will work non-stop in order to take the New Start forward and also all the objectives that came out of the National Assembly, in order to prepare our detailed political and economic program, which will also be our new proposal, our new alternative for Albania and Albanians”.

Basha comments the new elections in the DP, by saying that no “hara-kiri” is being made, but only a recovery. “The party has conducted analyses and not done hara-kiri. It has recovered and not alienated. A cast of new leaders throughout the country have been elected through a democratic process”, says Basha.

The democrat leader said that the aim now is to win the elections: “We pledge in front of the country, the citizens, in order to prepare the alternative of the recovery of the country and economy. The election today of the new leading team of DP was a moment of responsibility”.

Mustafaj: Basha is not model of a leader, Berisha has become unendurable for the people

One of the most important names of the DP, who used to be a prominent writer, is Besnik Mustafaj. But, in the last decade he distanced himself from the DP and politics, but by offering his opinions on the developments in the country.

Mustafaj says that the current head of DP “doesn’t reflect any model and that he’s not even the model of a leader”. For Mustafaj, “that of Lulzim Basha is not leadership”.

Mustafaj says that the current democrat leader should have carried out an analysis of the serious defeat that the DP conceded last year in the elections, but he’s skeptic about whether he could do this. According to Mustafaj, had this analysis been made, then Basha would offer the necessary leadership and would offer the model of a leader: “Basha should have done this analysis, but he has not done it in order to lead like he should and offer the model of a leader”.

When talking about Berisha, Mustafaj uses harsher tones. He says that “Berisha’s model has closed its cycle since 2005 and 2006”. For Mustafaj, “the last elections were lost by Berisha and not won by Rama. Berisha had become unendurable for the people”.

The writer and former politician also launches criticism about the current PM. He says that Rama is a man who repeats the practices of the others. Referring to the DP protests against the government, Mustafaj says that Rama often offers reason to get nervous.

The boycott continues

Since July 10, the Democratic Party, the largest opposition party in Parliament, has indefinitely suspended every relation with this institution. It doesn’t participate in any plenary sessions or meetings of the parliament’s committees.

The National Committee gave a vote of confidence to the steering committee of the parliamentary group, which has boycotted parliament since July 10. But do their mandates run the risk of expiry?

Legally, January 10, 2015 marks the last deadline for MPs to be present in parliament. If they do not show up on this date, then their mandates expire and partial elections are announced.

But will DP let these mandates expire?

This is unclear. The opposition has only two weeks to announce if it will come back to parliament, because its proceedings close on December 18 to reopen in January.

Some think that DP will act like Rama’s SP acted in 2010. It boycotted parliament after the 2009 elections and showed up in the time limit, in order not to let the mandates expire.

In the case of the new opposition, we must wait and see if “Basha” plan is a copy of “Rama” plan… /ibna/