This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.albanianfreepress.al
By ROLAND QAFOKU
Saturday’s Democratic Party’s caucus told us a lot about the future of this party. Amendments in the statute are and remain important and the same thing can also be said about the debates taken place during this caucus. Equally important are also the decisions that will be taken by the party’s national assembly meeting that will be held on Friday, April 20. Nonetheless, all these discussions, debates, analyses and forecasts come up to this: How will tomorrow’s Democratic Party be? What is its role expected to be? How much results will be yielded by the party’s leadership through its political action? And more importantly, is it possible for this leadership and its chairman, Lulzim Basha to bring this political force in power? Nobody who is part of the Democratic Party’s leading structures is able to provide a definite answer to these questions today. In the best scenario, the answers which are given are not convincing. But, some of the positions taken by prominent democrat officials within the party’s ranks not only need to be taken into account, but they should also act as a starting point for each analysis that is done within the Democratic Party.
The first one belongs to Besnik Mustafaj, who a few months ago declared that:
“The next local government elections will be the third challenge for the leader of the Democratic Party. They will be determining for the political future of this leader. Another defeat in the elections would signify ‘his final political death’”.
The second one belongs to former chairman and historical leader of this party, Sali Berisha, who a few days ago declared that:
“Two days after he used that sort of language, PM Rama received the answer that he deserved. To be honest, this also served as a wakeup call for the opposition’s structures, which could not continue to remain as they were. Instead, they needed to take important decisions to uphold the vital interests of this nation. The protest of Kukes was not started by the DP, but the opposition needs to analyze it”.
Based on these declarations and the debates taken place during the caucus, it looks like the Democratic Party is facing one of the most important political battles in its history. The outcome of the action that it has launched called “civil disobedience” and the result of the local government elections, will clearly determine the political future of the leadership of this party, but also of its chairman, Lulzim Basha and the party itself. On the other hand, we also have a declaration made by the Prime Minister and chairman of the Socialist Party, Edi Rama, at the start of the second term in office, openly expressing the goal of the majority:
“We will work hard during the second term to win a third term in office”.
On the other hand, we have a declaration made by the leader of the Democratic Party, Lulzim Basha who said that that he would use all forms of civil disobedience and that he would go as far as boycotting the local government elections. This was also articulated by Berisha during the “Debate on Channel One” political show on April 2.
So, the Albanian political class is divided into two camps: the left wing which is aiming to obtain a third term in office and the right wing which is aiming at any cost, even resorting to civil disobedience, to come back to power after being 8 years in opposition.
The parliamentary elections seem to be far away, but if we take into account the fact that the local government elections act as a test for the parliamentary elections, they bear a special importance. In case of success, the Democratic Party will also confirm its leader and its leadership. However, the wind is not blowing in DP’s direction. The opinion polls do not seem to support it and the atmosphere within the party is not very enthusiastic. Meanwhile, those who have criticized the leader within the party, have openly come out against him. According to Berisha, Basha needs to unite them. But can Basha unite all of them and how will he do this? Can he invite figures such as Astrit Patozi, Jozefina Topalli, Arben Imami and others back into the party? At least for now, chances are very small. Perhaps he still has a chance to reform the party and build a party which will be tomorrow’s Democratic Party, in order for the result of the local government elections to depend on it. In order for him to achieve this, he needs to make drastic changes in the way the party functions. Let us wait and see!
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