Sali Berisha is not interested in reuniting the party, but in cleansing it from opponents

29 Mars 2022, 23:04Op-Ed Mero Baze

Sali Berisha recently shared a statement in the name of Democratic Party regarding the arrest orders for several officials related to the incinerator’s affair. According to a formal perspective, he is neither the leader of the Democratic Party, nor the head of the Re-establishing Group, for which he himself appointed Belind Kellici as leader. However, Berisha’s rush to make a statement about SPAK shows that he is more interested in cleansing the Democratic Party, rather than reuniting it.

At the moment, Sali Berisha is in urgent need of a political logo and seal in order to show the justice system that they should also take him into account in their decision-making.  It is now clear what he intends to do with the Democratic Party. He will not unite with his rivals in that party and furthermore will not even accept them as rivals. According to a specific strategy, Sali Berisha is distancing all of Lulzim Basha’s collaborators in the Democratic Party, treating them as enemies, while rushing to seize control over the base of supporters.

In Tirana he has already removed all people and traces of Lulzim Basha’s administration and is currently dealing only with non-political individuals or some rather mediocre members of DP’s parliamentary group, whom he can easily attract through false promises. The haste with which he is removing Basha’s people from all communications groups shows that Sali Berisha is not interested in wasting his energies to reunite the party. Instead, he is investing more and more energies in cleansing it.

The main issue with Berisha’s strategy appears at the base of the party where he claims to have the majority on his side. Since the conflict there is much more real when it comes to the issue of Berisha being blacklisted by the United States, the confronting sides are positioned much strongly against each other. If the only impactful side in Tirana is the group of MPs and Berisha will focus his attention on those lacking a political position in order to gain more support, he cannot offer much to candidates in other cities. Considering that the conflict between candidates in these cities was often harsh and personal, Berisha can rest assured that this will keep the party divided for a long time.

Under the present circumstances, Sali Berisha is interested to conclude his return as soon as possible. He needs to legitimize himself as leader of a political group, hoping that this will scare SPAK from investigating his and his family’s relation to the arms trafficking affair in Gerdec or the murder of protesters on January 21st. His involvement in such events can be proved and their investigation is obligatory, following Berisha’s designation as non-grata by the State Department.

The strategy has worked for Sali Berisha so far. The only high officials to be investigated and arrested are mainly people who are considered not to have any major political support. Fatmir Mediu’s case on the other hand has been resting in SPAK’s drawers for almost a full year because prosecutors fear the support that he has from Sali Berisha.

The trial against Berisha’s daughter for money laundering was suspended by the Court of Tirana. That of Gerdec and the murder of four protesters on January 21st was violently closed as he verbally attacked the chief prosecutor at the time. All of Berisha’s success is the result of his political power and immunity. Therefore, those who may truly believe his promises of reuniting must realize that this means surrendering to Sali Berisha and lining up behind him.

Sali Berisha does not need numbers or even a majority in the Democratic Party since he is aware that he cannot win in elections. All he needs is the seal and the signature of the leader of opposition, which he is in a haste to get not by reuniting the party, but by cleansing it from all of his en

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