The political crisis doesn’t end, negotiations between majority and opposition in Albania fail

The political crisis doesn’t end, negotiations between majority and opposition in Albania fail

Albanian President, Bujar Nishani hosted on Thursday evening a meeting between the Prime Minister of the country, Edi Rama and the opposition leader, Lulzim Basha. After several hours of talks in the Presidency, the sides failed to reach a deal. In this confrontation between Rama and Basha that IBNA brings you through the analysis below, we can clearly see the opposite positioning of the sides

By Edison Kurani

In Albania, the elections have entered a vicious circle, because the majority and opposition are not budging from their positions and so far, nobody is expecting normal elections with the participation of all sides.

The meeting between Rama and Basha ended on Thursday evening without yielding any results. The sides didn’t announce any third meetings. Under these circumstances, the country continues to sink into political crisis and electoral stagnation.

It seems that the main point of the negotiations which continue to fail, relates to the election date. The government is asking for them to be held on the scheduled date, on 18 June, while the opposition is asking for them to be postponed, arguing that time is needed for electronic voting.

To seduce the opposition, Rama has offered in the recent hours the post of deputy Prime Minister and several deputy ministers.

But, the democrats refused. The leader of opposition said that he’s open for better offers by the government. “Unfortunately, the second meeting repeated yesterday’s meeting. Rama came to this meeting without any offers”.

Basha asked Rama to publicly admit that the government is incriminated and that drugs are all over the country.

“The failure to recognize both of these problems, which have been recognized internationally and accepted as a real threat for the free vote of the Albanian people, is not a good sign for the elections”, Mr. Basha said.

Boycott, cause for concern

On 7 May, elections for the new mayor will take place in Kavaja, which for years has been a right wing stronghold and in the recent years, it has been dominated by the left wing. These elections came following the removal of Elvis Roshi from office, a person who according to the Proseuction, had several criminal records.

The opposition has made it clear that it will not participate in these elections. What’s more, the opposition has announced a protest in Kavaja on Election Day.

Meanwhile, boycott has also spread in Parliament. The opposition has not participated in any parliamentary activities since 18 February.

But the main concern for the sides and international negotiators is the participation of the opposition in the June 18 elections. Up until now, the opposition has declared that it will not participate.

Election Date

For PM Edi Rama, there is no viable reason to postpone the Election Date. He has insisted several times for this date not to be changed.

Two weeks ago, when talks were held under the mediation of EU officials, Rama was open to discuss on the postponement of the elections. The date that was proposed was 16 July, but all attempts failed.

Now that the talks are being mediated by the Albanian President, Rama is determined not to accept the postponement of the Election Date. “We will hold elections on June 18”, he says. Meanwhile, Basha is asking for the elections to be held at the end of the year. “We are asking for electronic biometric voting and biometric ballot counting”.

Participation in the government

The international community proposed for Rama to remove at least four ministers and replace them with names approved by the opposition. Rama was not against this plan, but Basha ignored it. Thus, the sides didn’t budge and the talks under EU mediation failed.

Now that the talks are being mediated by the Albanian President, Rama has reduced his offer to the opposition. He no longer offers four ministers but three deputy ministers: deputy minister of Interior, Education and Justice and also the deputy Prime Minister “to build a mechanism for the monitoring of the elections, where the DP has eyes on the elections from within the government”.

Rama is demanding for the deputy Prime Minister to be proposed by the Democratic Party, but not to come from the ranks of the Democratic Party and to work inside the government along with three representatives of the USA, EU and OSCE, as head of a Task-Force to make sure that the state and state assets are not misused during the election campaign.

The Prime Minister also reveals a secret about the time he was in opposition from 2005 until 2013. “When I was leader of the opposition, I have not seen this in my wildest dreams, but it is something which is needed”.

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But is there a problem in the elections in Albania in terms of the majority and the opposition when it comes to the advantage of being in power?

Mr. Rama confirms it: “Of course there is. There has always been”.

And admitting that the state can be used for campaigning purposes, Rama said that he’s open to undergo scrutiny by the opposition.

Rama’s offer is being seen by Basha as a technical solution in circumstances when the opposition is demanding a political solution. The democrat leader says that scrutiny is an obligation of the institutions, implying that he’s not willing to become part of the government, because it is the job of the government’s structures to be independent during the elections.

Basha says that if the opposition enters the government represented with deputy ministers, the opposition will fall in a trap:

“If we accept to be an alibi for this process, Albanians will be ordered to vote not like free people, but like slaves of a state threatened by crime and criminals with power and drugs”.

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At this point, there remains to be seen if the opposition will participate in the elections by becoming part of the government or if it will boycott them.

If the latter happens, this would be the first time since the return of pluralism in 1991 that the opposition is not represented by the people. /IBNA/