From: Blendi Fevziu
Are There Really Clashes within the Democratic Party?

The public declarations coming from a few deputies of the Democratic Party and the debates within its parliamentary group have become the new sitcom in Albania. The way these events have been treated by the online media depends on their political conviction: they are either treated as an inner strong resistance against “Basha’s authoritarianism,” or as a movement sponsored by Rama and the Socialist Party to break up the increasing opposition action of Basha.

Based on the initial positioning, all the skeptics have been attacked, they have been insulted and attacked on a personal level, without assessing the ideas they expressed, or have been led on artificially, in order to make certain normal debates seem alarming and turbulent. What is obvious is the persistent and continuous culture of manipulation, when everyone is interested to know the reason behind a politician’s declaration, what triggered him or her. They do not deal with the real debate and the rationality or the discussion. An old Albanian story, a clear throwback from the communist dictatorship and the inherited totalitarian perspective of a closed-off Albania.

Naturally balanced media haven’t been amiss either, which considered this a normal course of action, a type of debate that at no given point surpassed the limits of normality, even though people that created it have chosen different paths, not resembling the opposition of the last four years.

I am personally shocked from the meager and hardly formal level of contestation regarding the PD’s decision. I haven’t noticed any inner storm inside PD. On the contrary, this could have been one of the most consensual decisions it has reached. It isn’t easy for a political party to decide not to register for elections and that the election process shouldn’t be allowed. I thought this decision would be reached after tough, harsh debates, after opposing ideas and intersecting analysis, after consuming each one, they would cancel each other out, to get to the best decision. I assumed that all experienced politicians would be there with their ideas and opinions, but this didn’t happen. To consider the stance of Majlinda Bregu, few words of Jozefina Topalli or Astrit Patozi a “contestation” is like calling the lake an ocean. I am not taking into account the position of Eduard Selami, because he didn’t even make an appearance during the party’s discussion. Blowing “the contestation” out of proportion was just serving the majority, but didn’t make any sense nonetheless.

Second, inner debates strengthen and solidify a political party. I would have personally demanded more debate to highlight the opposition’s strength and heighten its legitimacy.

Third, the personal denigration and opposition of those who doubted Basha’s decision, their Facebook posting race, was more than just disgusting. A throwback story from communism where everybody showed solidarity in condemning the enemies of the party. But in 2017, this is ludicrous. Especially the personal degenerate attacks, but avoiding real debates based on ideas. From this point of view, some Facebook postings, which personally attacked some who expressed skepticism or opposition, were the true disgrace of right-wing politics!

Naturally, the four political players who made public declarations have followed different, opposing ways. Jozefina Topalli and Astrit Patozi have had their reservations about the decision and Basha’s leadership, for that matter, during these four years. Both of them have had distinctive voices in the parliament. They have never for a second stopped criticizing Rama government therefore, their contestation should be taken seriously. Their four-year long political stance renders their contestation worthwhile.

Since early on, Majlinda Bregu has chosen a different opposing stance. She has carried herself more as a consensual and controlled player, a profile she continues to keep since her last year as the Minister of Integration. She has had more a position of “the international” within PD, distancing herself from both sides, rather than someone who is an active opponent. She has clarified her position lately too, declaring in some Facebook posts, that there is one political philosophy, the European philosophy. Making it clear that she is following the administrative alternative of the European Union and not what Basha calls the path of the real European values.

Eduard Selami is the hardest to classify into a category. During the last four years , he has never spoken in Parliament, but was active at least twice in interviews for Voice of America. This is the path he has chosen to be in politics, that is more of a “blind alley” than anything else. This is also his choice. As someone who was one of the founders of PD, its first Secretary-General and later its leader for three years, he should have played a bigger role during these last four years.

For all the reasons above, the debate within PD is normal, much less intense from the one other people and I had expected. The debate should be encouraged, not be put down, because only an open and tolerant debate renders PD’s actions reliable!