2021 Elections In Albania: Edi Rama’s Political Capitulation – Analysis
Albania has entered the final phase of the election campaign for the parliamentary elections, scheduled to take place on 25 April 2021.
Once again the elections will be a confrontation between two old rivals. Specifically, the Socialist Party (PS/S&D) headed by Prime Minister Edi Rama and the opposition group led by the Democratic Party (PD/EPP) headed by Lulzim Basha, which also includes the Movement for Socialist Integration (LSI) headed by Monika Kryemadhi.
As after the parliamentary elections Albania will be faced with the transition of government, it is necessary to ensure a peaceful transition and achieve a general social consensus on the future of the country.
The IFIMES international institute believes that both the Democratic Party (PD) and the Socialist Party (PS) need to facilitate peaceful transition of government, and that the winner of the elections needs to invite all social and political actors to act together without vengefulness and build the future of Albania, as well as that the election campaign and the political tensions should end after the elections.
The International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) had published analyses titled: “2021 Elections in Albania: Citizens against mafia”, link: https://www.ifimes.org/en/researches/2021-elections-in-albania-citizens-against-mafiazgjedhjet-ne-shqiperi-2021-qytetaret-kunder-mafies/2821? (17.4.2021),“2021 Elections in Albania: ‘Facadization’ of Tirana and ‘cannabization’ of Albania”/„Fasadizimi“ i Tiranës dhe „kanabizimi“ i Shqipërisë“, link: https://www.ifimes.org/en/researches/2021-elections-in-albania-facadization-of-tirana-and-cannabization-of-albaniafasadizimi-i-tiranes-dhe-kanabizimi-i-shqiperise/4762? (3.4.2021) and “2020 Albania: Edi Rama takes Albania closer to Latin America not EU”, link: https://www.ifimes.org/en/researches/2020-albania-edi-rama-takes-albania-closer-to-latin-america-not-eu/4707?page=3 (19.12.2020).
Elections under specific circumstances
At the upcoming parliamentary elections the numerous Albanian diaspora will not be able to vote as it has done in the past. Furthermore, according to the statistics of the Albanian Ministry of Health, the country has quite a significant number of active Covid-19 cases and they too will not be able to vote at the elections.
Analysts believe that it is necessary to ensure that all citizens of the Republic of Albania who are eligible voters can exercise their right to vote.
Albania can no longer bear the heavy burden of poverty, privation and injustice. The Alliance for Change, led by the Democratic Party constitutes the winning coalition. It is a general coalition against the brutal regime of Edi Rama’s Socialist Party. Albanians have been stripped of their future. This is visible at every step, including the parents who do not know what future awaits their children, the large number of Albanians who are seeking employment and a more certain future. The autocratic and arrogant rule of Prime Minister Rama, in combination with the high level of crime and corruption has taken Albania astray and far away from the path of integration into the EU.
Analysts also believe that the future of Albania and Albanians will be decided at the upcoming elections. It will be a decision that will affect the youth, employment, wellbeing of Albanian families, as well as Albanian farmers, subsidies, lowering of the oil and energy prices, etc. It is also particularly important to stop the massive departure of young people and entire families. These elections are not about political parties, but about Albanians, who have two options. They can choose between four more years of unsuccessfulness and changes in Albania.
Rama and “Non paper”
Rama’s political and moral biography is a burden for Albania. The Socialist Party has not managed to modernize itself but has remained a rigid, regime, autocratic communist party. Therefore, it is of no surprise that Rama has established a regime which is a combination of Enver Hoxha’s and Slobodan Milošević’s regimes.
The Democratic Party is once again faced with a historic responsibility, just as it was in 1991, when it toppled Enver Hoxha’s regime. Citizens of Albania demonstrated political maturity and responsibility at the numerous peaceful and dignified protests that were organized all over Albania. At the same time, Edi Rama is involved in all kinds of things, including numerous potentially incriminating activities. In example, he participated in the sale of the IPKO telecom operator in Kosovo, which is owned by the Slovenian Telekom, which is why in October 2020 he was in a private visit to Slovenia, where he talked, inter alia, about it with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša (SDS).
Analysts warn of the possible connections that Edi Rama has with the recently publicized “non-paper“, which is attributed to the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša and Rama’s involvement in the trade with Albanian ethnic territories, which would cause new instabilities, that could lead to new conflict and mass sufferings. A logical question to be asked is, does Edi Rama trade with Albanian ethnic territories? Edi Rama speaks about unification of Kosovo with Albania, while in fact he has disunited Albania as nobody before him. The perception of the Albanian public is that Edi Rama has “given away” a part of the Albanian sea to Greece, and would now like to participate in exchange of territories and cause chaos in the region for the sole purpose of his survival in power.
Albanians need “besa shqiptare”
The Republic of Albania is currently in the most difficult situation since the fall of Enver Hoxha’s regime in 1991. The state is politically polarized, the state institutions are not effective and there is a “silent” civil war underway, which is a point of concern because in the recent history Albania was already faced with a similar threat. How can the current situation be overcome? The defeat of Edi Rama’s regime and the Socialist Party at the upcoming election will not be sufficient for ensuring a better future and perspective of the state of Albania and its citizens.
According to analysts, in the current situation the instrument of Albanian given promise (besa shqiptare), rooted in the Albanian traditional society can be used in a modified form for resolution of the existing social situation, which constitutes an immediate threat to the Albanian people and state. The ineffective institutions of their state force the Albanians to resort to the “besa” instrument. Generally, throughout the history the “besa” instrument was predominantly used in the context of blood feuds. However, in today’s circumstances the “besa” instrument can be used to achieve a general social consensus, that is make a public promise (social agreement) regarding the future of Albania and Albanians, as well as to put aside the differences, grievances and antagonisms, as throughout the history in such a way the Albanians devised the best solutions for their survival and ensuring a future for their people and the state. In this context, “besa” would be used as an instrument not for blood feuds but for national reconciliation for the purposes of ensuring a better future and progress. Therefore, “besa shqiptare” can also be used as an instrument of peace, not as an instrument of revenge. Other peoples do not have the “besa” instrument because it is a specificity of the Albanian social structure, life and perception of time and space.
Analysts believe that at the upcoming elections Edi Rama’s regime will pass into history. The elections have to be transparent, fair and just, that is without purchase of votes and “black fund” votes, secured through dirty money from the drug business. After the departure of Nikola Gruevski (VMRO-DPMNE), Hashim Thaci (PDK), Milo Đukanović (DPS), Bojko Borisov (Gerb), finally the time has come for the political capitulation of Edi Rama.
*IFIMES – The International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) from Ljubljana, Slovenia, has a special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)/UN since 2018.