The Democratic Party (PD), Albania’s largest opposition party, is holding elections for its local organs in 70 percent of its offices across the country.
These elections precede the party’s National Assembly of April 30, which is expected to pave the way for new party leadership, to be elected through a national vote.
Starting on Saturday, PD members in several cities voted to elect new local office chairs. The process was pushed forward by the PD Refoundation Committee, but was opposed by a number of PD members of parliament that used to side with former PD chairman Lulzim Basha.
Instead, this group of MPs came up with a proposal calling for these intra-party local elections to be canceled and for party unification. The Refoundation Committee disregarded the proposal, arguing that it does not follow party statutes.
The Refoundation Committee was established by the national assembly called by Sali Berisha’s movement on December 11, 2021, to lead the party until a new chairman is elected. The December 11 assembly dismissed most party leadership and approved new statuses—which they are currently implementing.
Those opposing Berisha’s movement do not recognize the decisions of the December 11 national assembly that dismissed the party leadership and replaced it with a temporary committee, and have filed a complaint with the court.
Intra-party local elections are expected to partially change the membership of the next national assembly, the party’s highest decision-making body. These changes will effectively replace some Basha supporters with Berisha backers, given the latter’s relatively widespread support among party members.
Berisha, 77, whose movement toppled Basha and all PD leadership after they excluded him from the parliamentary group and the party following his designation over corruption by the US State Department, has stated he will run for chairman despite opposition by a number of its party MPs.