On July 22 the Democratic Party will hold internal elections for the party leader. 103,952 PD members will be able to cast their votes for a new leader, after Lulzim Basha froze his functions as party chairman and the two deputy chairmen were charged with organizing the elections.
Of the five official candidates three were later disqualified, including current deputy Astrit Patozi. The current race is between former party chairman Eduard Selami and current party chairman Lulzim Basha. Both candidates have been making appearances together throughout the country, debating the future of the PD after its historic loss during the general elections.
Although Selami has called upon Basha last week to officially step down so that the elections could be held “under conditions of equality,” Basha has so far refused to do so.
During a recent debate in Shkodra, Selami emphasized the need for a thorough analysis within the party of the electoral loss and the opening of internal dialogue:
At this point I think that we should do a serious analysis. If you didn’t ask the party structures, not asked the branches, not asked the Democrats, not asked the citizens, you can for their vote but you get nothing back.
Basha focused on the alleged massive vote-buying with “hundreds of millions” of drugs money perpetrated by the Socialist Party.
Hundreds of millions of euros of drugs that were poured out even today. We saw this very well, everywhere we campaigned, a planned effort with a fine-grained distribution.
Meanwhile, Patozi, who failed to secure a seat in the new legislature, has announced a new “movement” within the party, called “Movement for the Reconstruction of the PD,” which includes current PD deputies Eleina Qirici, Gjergji Papa, and Ridvan Bode. None of them is expected to return to Parliament after August.
During a speech in Korça, Patozi declared:
If our initiative had a name that we would put on our initiative it would be “Movement for Reconstruction of the Democractic Party,” and this I say for the first time in Korça. We are all together and this is a PD that doesn’t accept not holding responsibility and not having a straight competition. We are branded as opponents of Lulzim Basha, but we are the opponents of the PS, because Lulzim Basha is one of us and we are ready to work also with him to rebuild the PD. The PD hasn’t died.
Recently, also the LSI changed party leader, with Monika Kryemadhi taking over from Petrit Vasili. The PS hasn’t held official leadership elections in years.