Ilir Meta’s Hunger for Power

For the entire summer, Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI) leader Ilir Meta kept Parliament in tension with his threat to dump the Rama government. Now he spent most of the autumn dancing a political waltz, which has forced him to take unpredictable decisions – even regarding laws that he approved before.

The continuous declarations of Socialist Party (PS) officials appear to be intended to coerce Ilir Meta to once more confirm whether or not he will be part of the PS coalition for the coming elections. But every time a socialist spokesperson speaks about the stability of the coalition with Ilir Meta, the next day we find LSI deputies Petrit Vasili or Luan Rama making declarations that again muddle the waters. Meanwhile, the electorate is kept in the dark.

During the local elections in Dibra, everyone expected a clear position from Meta. But he didn’t take an active part in the campaign, suggesting that it was up to the Democratic Party (PD) to show its force and win the elections. But that didn’t happen.

Last week, during the local elections in Kolonja, it was the same story again. The PD didn’t present a candidate, and neither did the LSI. The Socialist Party faced off against the Environmental Agrarian Party (PAA). Also this time the socialist candidate won, although it wasn’t clear whom Meta was supporting.

You don’t have to be a political analyst to understand that the relations between the government coalition parties have deteriorated to such an extent that it the damage is irreversible.

Keeping Meta’s reputation and his political history in mind, however, once shouldn’t see this as simply a smart game of who will end up breaking the coalition, but as a strategy to maximize the selling price that will determine its fate.

Political analysts paid by Meta continue to publish articles that aim to erode to coalition. In the meantime, he interrupts long periods of silence with weak positions that clearly aim to pacify his coalition partner.

Today Parliament once again deliberates over the law that would allow the import of waste, after President Bujar Nishani returned it to Parliament at the end of October.

The LSI is the only party which has voted twice in favor of the law; once in 2011, and once in 2016. The third time – after a meeting with representatives of civil society, whom Meta promised that he would respect their requests – the only thing he did was to remove the law from the parliamentary agenda – temporarily, of course.

Meta is highlighting all the defects of the government in order to wear it down. It seems as if he trying to sell himself as expensively as possible to Rama.

But the people have started to grow tired of the Rama government and it may well be that Meta’s maneuvers will end up being in vain.

So it appears that the true aim of Meta, starting also from the political image that he has created over time, is to maximize his politico-economical gain and minimize any electoral risk, independent of his political position on the Albanian scene.

Genuine politics requires understandable alternatives for the voters, which form a distinguishable political identity. In the long term, these alternatives cannot only be driven by interests or just the possibility of coming to power.

Otherwise the LSI’s nickname “sh.p.k.” may turn out to be true. Its greed for money and power can be the downfall of this party, which cannot hide the attempt to eliminate it during the constitutional reform of 2008.

Precisely now that the Albanian political scene is in need for a moral politics, Meta’s “passage through the desert,” which he started long ago as a test of his courage, has the risk of ending up in oblivion, if the now exhausted people decide, with all its anger, to remove this force, which even more than the others looks like a band of unscrupulous thieves, from politics.