Tirana, July 6, 2013
IBNA/SPECIAL REPORT – By Edison Kurani
An analysis on Sokol Olldashi and Lulzim Basha, two candidates that aspire to take over the post of the democrat leader Berisha after the deep defeat in the elections
The Democratic Party is experiencing its worst period since 1997, when it was overthrown from power due to the financial Ponzi schemes. Its leader, Sali Berisha needed 8 years until 2005, to improve the bad image of his political force.
In 2005 he managed to win power, which he held on to for 8 years.
But now, after the June 23 elections, the DP has returned to point zero. DP is once again in opposition and it’s very likely for it to stay there for a significant amount of time.
If in 2009 the DP won 68 seats in a parliament with 140 seats, this time it doesn’t control more than 48 MPs. In its lists there are also MPs from small parties, allies of the right wing coalition.
The new majority managed to win 84 seats in parliament, enough to form the new government, but also to make constitutional changes, remove the President, amend laws and different decisions, replace judges in the Electoral Court, Supreme Court, Constitutional Court and make changes in the Central Election Commission.
With so much power obtained, the left wing coalition risks to turn into a super government. But it is yet to be seen how much the new majority will take advantage of this.
On the other hand, the opposition is undergoing important developments which will decide its fate.
Five people entered the race for the new leader of the Democratic Party, after Sali Berisha resigned from all party functions.
At the end, the leading board of the DP disqualified three names and left in the race for the June 22 election, the acting Minister of Public Works and Transport, Sokol Olldashi and the current mayor of Tirana, Lulzim Basha.
This may be considered as a strong race.
Both candidates are young and are the most renowned personalities of the DP.
Both of them raced to defeat the leader of the Socialist Party, Edi Rama.
The first one, Sokol Olldashi held a strong race in 2007 in the elections for the mayor of Tirana, but Edi Rama defeated him and won a third term in office.
The second one, in 2011 resigned as minister of Berisha’s government and as an MP and raced against Rama, like Olldashi had done 4 years earlier. With a narrow result, he managed to defeat Edi Rama and took over the post of mayor.
Now, both rivals of Edi Rama, are rivals of each other. The first one, Olldashi, has declared in the recent days that he has been in the DP for 23 years, since its creation, mentioning that his contribution in the party is significant.
The second one, Basha, has entered the DP in 2004 and very soon he became one of the most renowned figures of this party. He represented the new image of the Democratic Party as he arrived in the framework of the Committee for the Orientation of Policies that the DP created in order to attract intellectuals that had studied in the country and abroad.
During these years, their cohabitation within the DP has been normal, without clashes and conflicts.
Now that the race is taking place within the party, more caution is shown to avoid clashes.
But the race demands a winner and the winner can be a product of the popularity that enjoys each candidate.
For the first time within the DP, the elections will not be held by the Leading Board, but by following the principle “one member, one vote”. This means that 100 thousand DP members throughout Albania will vote on July 22 as to who will be the new leader.
In order not to allow abuses in the support given to candidates, the acting leader of this party, Sali Berisha issued an order. He forbid every MP, minister, leader of DP or other officials to show their public support for one candidate or the other, without resigning first.
This is an attempt by Berisha not to break the rules of the game in order for the race to be on equal terms.
Meanwhile, media in Albania has started to speculate as to who the winner of the elections within the DP will be. Some of them say that Lulzim Basha will be Berisha’s successor, considering him as Berisha’s favorite politician.
Others say that Olldashi may be the most voted one by the members of the DP, due to his massive popularity in this party in 23 years.
Unveiling their program to win the DP elections, both candidates have had things in common.
The project of both of them consists on bringing back the opposition in power, at least in 4 years time. Both of them have declared that it’s difficult to find a man like Sali Berisha for the post of leader of the DP, which is the first political force that overthrew the communist regime in Albania. /ibna/