Sunday, May 19, 2024

Election post festum

Author: Sefer Selimi Jr.

When DUI launched the idea for the first Albanian Prime Minister in the election campaign, as today I was convinced that this is just a PR trick that served the DUI political strategy to win once again the mandate to be in government. And this worked miraculously, completely changing the course of the debate in the Albanian political camp but also the general pre-election debate. DUI managed to masterfully impose this topic using every means from the propaganda arsenal and investing every political energy to completely overshadow all other discussions, especially accountability for its 18 years of work. The debate on the next governing program was almost non-existent, or rather they were face to face and not to say that we have nothing to offer. Even today, I think the demand for prime minister is the lowest political demand which best reflects the failure of the DUI government, a party which is more focused on symbolic change than qualitative. Voters were satisfied once again with half-hearted ideas, full of folklore and populism, while the invitation for coordination between Albanian political parties by DUI is rightly taken with skepticism by other leaders because in the past it has been proven that it has been insincere and always after capitalization DUI interests other parties have been thrown aside.

The semi-opposition coalition that directly challenged the DUI failed to break out of the old opposition mentality to emerge as the next winner. Almost all pre-election rallies and debates began and ended with DUI and Ali Ahmeti. This mentality and this oppositionism kept the DUI in power for 18 years, while all its challengers were in opposition. The opposition failed to accumulate enough votes beyond its activists, those whose personal interests were directly affected by the DUI government and those who claimed to be the party’s potential future clients. The Alliance for Albanians and Alternativa did not manage to get the DUI out of its comfort zone, but played in their field trying to copy the DUI’s political action and organization. I reiterate my advice given before the start of the campaign for the ASh-AAA coalition: “To be against DUI is not an election program. Being against Ali Ahmeti does not make you a leader. Talking about the past does not make you a visionary. Counting mistakes is not the solution to problems. The citizens of this state, and especially the Albanians, have been asking for change for a long time, but they do not want a replacement. “As for the late accusation of electoral manipulation (most of them legitimate), she points out that their inaction at the right time, in the right place and in the right form is due to the lack of human and party capacities to pursue and react institutionally to serious problems or behind it hides the need to justify and escape from the responsibility of “loss”. Whatever the reason, this “battle” in the long run will do more harm than good.

SDSM and the BESA Movement started from the wrong expectations and advice. The 2016 elections are not a point of reference but a precedent that occurred because of a series of riots and traumatic political moments accumulated for 10 years in a row. Those who advised the SDSM leader to enter into a direct confrontation with the DUI confirmed the thesis that they do not even represent but much less really know the Albanians. The Besa movement, wanting to copy Ilir Meta’s SMI, forgot to take into account that their potential for political clientelism is in the hands of the coalition’s biggest partner and customers always seek to shop directly with the owner, and not with the seller. The emphasis of their campaign was on the fact that the Besa Movement is a “safe participant in government” instead of stating that they will be “the guarantee of the fair and equal functioning of the government in relation to Albanians”.
VMRO-DPMNE continues its internal struggle for ideological identity between the distant past, that of the 90s, the recent past and the concept on the future of the state. As long as he directs allegations and criticisms of corruption from the “white palace” which is the symbol of corruption and abuse of power, the only thing that will change is its size in opposition. This party should start with the sale of its headquarters and then with a complete ideological reformatting starting from the acceptance of the factual reality of the state, the region and the real alternatives for the future. This was fully reflected in the campaign, in the election results and we see it even today when their leader was donned the armor of Don Quixote to form the new government.

Small parties accomplished their mission to burn the votes of the dissatisfied. The exception was Levica, the far-left party with fascist tendencies. Their luck to get 2 parliament members was helped by the low turnout in the elections and in the new parliamentary composition we will witness absurd ideas and genius madness, most of them heard so far but outside parliament. Menduh Thaçi won the battle for his political survival for another parliamentary term, most likely the last one.

Negotiations have not yet officially begun, but their end seems far away – so much so that hopes that this government will have the potential and capacity to bring us back to normal after the pandemic crisis and to have the desired success in negotiations with the EU.

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