From: Exit Staff
Formal PD Announces Candidates for Mayoral By-Elections

The formal Democratic Party (PD) of Lulzim Basha has announced its six candidates for the mayoral by-elections of March 6.

Party leadership approved the regional offices’ nominations for the municipalities of Shkoder, Durres, Lushnje, Diber, Vore, and Rrogozhine.

Xhemal Bushati, Luan Hoti, Indrit Sefa, Luan Haka, Ymer Marku, Ferdinand Saraçi respectively will be running in March under the PD’s official banner.

All parties and coalitions have until February 9 to submit their candidates to the Central Election Commission (CEC).

The ruling Socialist Party unveiled most of their list last week, and picked Eriselda Sefa for the municipal seat of Lushnje.

The Refoundation Group of the opposition Democratic Party (PD) led by Sali Berisha will run in the by-elections of March 6 under the banner “House of Freedom”, after entering a coalition with the Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI).

The Group elected their candidates through a national primary held on January 30, before the coalition with LSI was announced.

A split occurred in the PD last year, when Basha excluded Berisha from the PD parliamentary group after the US barred him from entering the country over corruption allegations. Under the leadership of Berisha, party members voted to dismiss Basha, who responded by expelling Berisha and a number of senior PD officials from the party or its leadership.

To date, Basha’s faction is recognized as the official PD by the Central Election Commission although Berisha claims to have the support of the vast majority of party members.

The split may undermine the PD’s attempt to win back control of several key mayoral seats, including Durres and Shkoder. Furthermore, 55 of the Albania’s 61 municipalities are led by Socialist mayors after the PD decided to boycott local elections in 2019.

Mayors elected in March will hold their post for one year, as full local elections are scheduled for Summer 2023.