From: Bledar Qalliu
Formal PD Enters ‘Deep Reflection’ Phase after Crushing Defeat

The formal Democratic Party has entered a phase of internal consultations in order to produce an analysis of the main opposition’s crushing defeat in last weekend’s by-elections. 

Party organs at different levels are meeting to suggest the shape the analysis should take, formal PD chairman Lulzim Basha announced on Thursday.

Asked whether he is ready to hold himself accountable for the loss, Basha replied that he could not judge the result of the analysis, but he was open to do anything for the sake of the party.

“This will be a process of deep reflection with a single objective: finding out what’s in the Democrat’s best interest. It’s clear that one of the main reasons [for the loss] is the division and conflict among us. I am ready to do anything in the best interest of the Democratic Party. However, you should be patient; it’s not wise to accelerate things while we are in a reflection process,” he told journalists.

The formal PD came last in the Sunday by-elections in six municipalities involving about 25 percent of the population. It lost not only to the ruling Socialist Party but also to the PD group of Sali Berisha. Nearly 70 percent of the opposition voters cast their votes for Berisha’s group, while the formal PD got the worst result ever in its history.

Asked whether he would resign following his sixth consecutive defeat in elections since 2013, on Monday Basha denied he ever lost an election in his life. However today he admitted that the PD lost the last by-elections, getting a good lesson on the need “to become stronger and more united”.

Gazmend Bardhi, the formal PD General Secretary also spoke to journalists today to highlight that the “process of reflection must be serious” and “everyone should hold responsibility” for the loss.

Following the unsurprising defeat foretold by a number of surveys, Basha was faced with demands to resign from some of his staunchest supporters in party leadership to date. Two of his deputies resigned as a result of the defeat.

In reaction to the backlash, on Tuesday Basha called a meeting of local heads of the PD, whom he essentially appointed shortly before banning Berisha from the PD parliamentary group after the latter was designated by the United States over corruption allegations. They expressed overwhelming support for Basha, arguing that the responsibility for the loss lay mostly with the PD members of parliament and steering committee who didn’t engage enough in the electoral campaign.

Today Basha stressed that everyone should be held responsible for the loss including himself.


Read more: Basha Abandoned by Party Leadership as Deputies Resign