Our Political Crisis – The State of Play

Since February 18, the Democratic Party and its allies have been protesting against the government of Prime Minister Edi Rama, demanding the installation of a caretaker government as the only possibility for guaranteeing free and fair elections. The opposition has not taken part in parliamentary sessions and has not registered for the early local elections in Kavaja. Moreover, the PD has declared that it will not participate in the elections of June 18 unless a technical government is installed.

Yesterday, opposition leader Lulzim Basha stressed his determination to fight till the end for his cause:

I do not withdraw from this battle without fighting until the end for the decision that we took together, for a caretaker government for free and fair elections.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Edi Rama has during this entire period considered the demands of the PD illegitimate. He has declared to be determined to hold the elections of June 18 even if the opposition will not take part.

On March 22, Prime Minister Rama stated in front of PS deputies:

Even if no one wants to enter the elections, the PS will enter the elections and take 140 deputies in Parliament and with its votes it will pass the vetting and any other judicial reform law.

On March 26, he said the following in his weekly Facebook monologue:

The PD needs to forget the caretaker government and the postponement of the election date. Nor is there a way that we are going to waste time and energy on the improvised battlefield to which the PD is calling us.

While on April 2 Rama declared:

It’s not our problem and we don’t care at all if the country may be left without opposition.

The evening after the National Assembly of the PS on April 2, the two coalition partners in the government, PS leader Edi Rama and LSI leader Ilir Meta, accompanied by Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj and Minister of Justice Petrit Vasili, went for dinner together. Afterwards the media widely reported that the continuation of the PS–LSI coalition had been negotiated successfully.

But yesterday evening, after a meeting of the LSI leadership, Speaker of Parliament Meta made the following public statement:

The LSI values that the country has need, in a special way, for a government of trust for elections that are accepted by all.

The LSI decides to put at the disposal of the political crisis in the country all its political mandates, from the mandate of speaker of parliament, the mandates of the ministers, to all political posts of its representatives.

If the leadership of the Socialist Party will not guarantee with maximum willingness and giving all possible guarantees to the opposition, so that it may be part of the electoral process, the LSI cannot only not be part of such a coalition, but also not of a possible electoral farce.

The LSI is clear that between the left and the right it chooses the left, between democratic elections and electoral farce it chooses democratic elections.

After the declaration of Speaker Meta, we are now waiting for the response of Prime Minister Rama whether he will enter the national elections alone, or whether he will yield to the demands of the opposition.