Must the Socialist Party hold fresh elections?

Must the Socialist Party hold fresh elections?

IBNA Special Report

Tirana, May 5, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

A strong debate is going on within the Socialist Party, the biggest left wing majority party in Albania.

The statute of the party sanctions that elections for the new leaders, including the chairman, must be held once every 4 years and in those cases when this political force is defeated in the elections.

This is what happened in 2009, when SP lost the elections. Its leader, Edi Rama contested the result of the elections. He was subjected to the statute and held elections where he was reconfirmed as chairman.

This time, the elections were won by the left wing coalition. SP received almost the same number of votes as in 2009, but SMI, which for 4 years was part of the coalition with leader of the right wing, Sali Berisha, won around 20 seats in the 140 seat parliament. SMI became a crucial political force in the prime minister Rama led coalition.

After the elections, voices within the SP demanded new elections, based on the statute.

Edi Rama ignored these voices, until Ben Blushi MP and former minister of Local Government spoke publicly.

Blushi, a prominent writer, strongly criticized the fact that the elections have not been held, saying that the statute of SP is being violated.

One of the most critical voices against Edi Rama, Mr. Blushi expresses his concern on the transparency of political developments in the Socialist Party, holding thus a debate in distance with Mr. Rama.

Speaking on the application of the party statute, Blushi says that he’s not the only voice. According to him, there are many within the Socialist Party who want the application of the statute, although they don’t talk. Blushi says that Edi Rama must allow the holding of the fresh elections for the leading structures and the head of the party of the SP.

According to the majority MP, this opinion is also backed by all structures of the party, from the base, to the parliamentary group, to steering committee and the congress.

“I’m convinced that the majority part of SP, in every level, base, parliamentary group, Assembly would say that the statute must be applied. It’s an absolute majority, although a quiet one”, says Blushi.

He appeals for the new elections within the SP to be held, recalling the fact that several months have gone by. “This is absurd and cannot happen”, says Blushi. He says that “Rama doesn’t have a mandate to be head of the party and he’s violating the statute by not holding elections”.

In response to the accusations launched by socialist MP, Ben Blushi, prime minister Rama says that the elections are not necessary. “Parties that follow the principle ‘one member-one vote’ and whose leader is a prime minister, do not hold elections”, says Rama, who mentions the model followed by British labors.

It’s been 6 months that the mandate of the head of SP has run out, while it’s been months that socialists do not gather neither the steering committee, nor the assembly, like the statute requires it.

“Decisions within the Socialist Party are not taken in a collegial form and the chairman’s mandate has run out”, says Blushi.

Rama replies: “We’re a party in power, we have the government and parliamentary group. There’s no structure outside these two that must gather in order to take decisions”.

But, the SP statute clearly states when elections must be held. Rama says: “Parties that follow the principle ‘one member-one vote’ and whose leader is a prime minister, do not hold elections and it’s absurd to do this for as long as the leader is prime minister”.

Rama also has another  concern: “We don’t have any time to waste. We don’t have to waste a month worth of electoral campaign, because we have so much to do, the government is committed to work”, says Mr. Rama. /ibna/