The Opposition between Mistakes and Millions

The last three days can be considered the worst days for the Democratic Party. I recall that in the most challenging years 1997 or ’98 and 2001, there were still more supporters going about aimlessly in the halls or offices of the party’s headquarters, whining because communists had regained power with a revolution.

In the past, at least, there were people close to PD that believed in values and had a strong weapon, the anticommunism. This stance lost its value, when during eight years the Democrats governed the country. An analysis for the deep loss experienced on Sunday should start from here. A loss that clearly identified the faults of the leadership – the inherited faults and the ones committed during four years in opposition.

No one can say for sure whether the thousands who ignored and devalued the vote on June 25 were right-wing voters. Many among them have been PD’s supporters, angry with Berisha or dissatisfied with Basha’s leadership. Their absence is in reality the biggest blow for PD in the last years.

Their reasons may have been sound, many still don’t forgive PD’s bad government during its last three years in power. There are people that don’t support Berisha’s way of governing, or doubt Basha’s style in leading the opposition. The people who chose to boycott elections punished PD, forgetting on the way perhaps that Edi Rama took charge of the wheel, and that he cannot be considered the least worst in this situation.

The people who were angry, indifferent, or maddened that punished PD by abandoning it on June 25, are in fact the least represented part in PD. To its detriment, in the past four years, the biggest opposition party didn’t reflect or didn’t hold responsible the ones who in 2013 transformed PD into the hub of individual enrichment, defamation of values; mocking the former prosecuted and landowners, pushing away the true militants, and keeping close the sycophants.

For four consecutive years, Lulzim Basha could not create a true spirit of opposition, resembling the first opposition that gave charm even to the contenders that governed. On my part, I have never understood Lulzim Basha. He tried to revive hope with former ministers or former directors, who spend their days in luxurious restaurants and during the night cut deals with Edi Rama to protect their money, villas, riches, and fancy cars.

I do not congratulate the new faces he managed in bringing into PD. A group of young people without a public profile, and tremendously concerned about whether the former and actual leader liked them. If they were successful, the “elders” of the party could have left. During four years of opposition, PD was represented in parliament with two or three old voices, while in public debates, only shapeless and colorless parrots were active.

The only real political action, the Tent of Freedom, was the only mechanism that pulled PD out of a lengthy apathy. For the first time, Basha could convince the most doubtful individuals that he truly controlled the party’s breaks and he was leading PD, and was blowing fresh air to a lacking spirit of opposition.

During three long and tedious months, he carried himself with dignity against the government, he clearly articulated accusations that gained a broad support and he was identified as the new leader of the right, replacing perhaps Sali Berisha. Something started to change, when he signed an agreement with Edi Rama. Maybe it was the international pressure, the fear of being excluded from electoral process, the responsibility to face the unknown situations of the boycott; these could have been some of the reasons that affected the political development in a negative way.

As elections were approaching, he appropriated six ministerial positions and some trivial directories, which created doubts about possible deals with Edi Rama. The election was tainted by obscure meetings and silence; “love at a distance”; a jackals’ war with LSI was in the middle; unclear and vague messages; the implied message that there was maybe a possibility of co-governing with Edi Rama; and many dejected deputies that did not find their names in the list.

Did Lulzim Basha make a mistake when he signed an agreement with Edi Rama? PD should do an analysis regarding this issue, even when the one responsible is the leader with frozen functions. Did PD’s campaign have mistakes? This is another analysis that shouldn’t be sidestepped. There were quite e few mistakes.

Can the people that did not work a single day for a short and lukewarm PD campaign be part of the analysis? Can people crucify Lulzim Basha today, while they were just tourists passing by during three-months-long Tent protest? Using a quick analysis, we can observe that if the people who signed against Basha have signed to be on budget’s payroll for eight years, and adding their declared and undeclared wealth would benefit the Albanian GDP.

That list contains billionaire former ministers, former deputies who do not justify their own gas expenses with their wages, former directors or advisers who in 2005 started their career by withdrawing their last overdraft from their bank accounts and are now living in luxury; all of these are clear indicators of human wrath and anger, which should have rather been a political behavior of those who at least pretend to be a part of politics.

These deserters, who during the campaign worked against the PD, are today asking for the responsibility of failure. In the past 4 years, these people, with very few exceptions, didn’t even speak in parliament or make a single Facebook status about Edi Rama’s disasters. Today, they are asking to drag Lulzim Basha out of his office. But, maybe, they have forgotten that there is one thing that money (however many you might have) cannot buy.

You cannot find dignity and personality in the Cham market of the Renaissance that often buys and sells its own political opponents. Also, you can’t keep the party or the political positions forever, when they are given to you as a gift by the leader who used you. There comes a time when you have to pay for all of this. And for the misfortune of that list, this time the opponents are not going to face Sali Berisha but rather Lulzim Basha: the favorite of the former leader, who they themselves voted for and who de facto marked the end of their political careers.

A great part of that list that is preparing for the last revenge within the PD, are former friends and collaborators of Sali Berisha, who has shown through the years that as long as he is alive he will do anything in order to make the PD work the way he wants it to. Therefore, it is unfortunate that those who have stood by his side haven’t understood that even this time they have been facing Berisha, not Basha. The game was not straight-forward, but it was embellished in a way only the doctor knows how to do.

The political diabolism of the one who kept PD on its feet during the hardest days in 1997 cannot allow himself to give the party to those he himself elected, gave posts and offices and even closed an eye when they were getting richer and richer. Because, today the opposition faces a real challenge that is more than a race within the PD. The challenge is the survival in front of a majority that has a lot of votes, a lot of money and a lot of power. And there is nothing more urgent than the creation of a big front against Edi Rama. But this is something that the promiscuous politicians cannot accomplish, thus they have chosen the way that appears the easiest… but could have lots of surprises.