How Erion Veliaj succeeded in pulling Berisha as a rival in the local elections campaign

5 Maj 2023, 19:43Op-Ed Mero Baze

I cannot really say why Sali Berisha has entered into personal race against Erion Veliaj in the local elections campaign. Even though the efforts of Tirana’s incumbent mayor to pull Berisha into a personal battle seemed useless, they have resulted in success. In all of his recent public appearances, Veliaj has been the main target of Berisha’s attacks, which I am afraid is a tactic well-prepared by Tirana’s mayor.

During an interview for the TV Show “Opinion” on Thursday, Berisha claimed that he had investigated regarding an allegedly secret visit in Iran by Erion Veliaj. As if this was not enough, Berisha added that he has deeper facts about this event.

As a matter of fact, it has been a few weeks since Erion Veliaj picked Berisha as his opponent and dealing only with him, he has left Belind Kellici to count badly constructed roads and promise to make free any service that he thinks of in the municipality of Tirana. Those looking to grow Kellici’s political profile during the electoral campaign are naturally worried to have Berisha as the opposition’s main representative. This not only places Kellici at the same level as someone who designated as non-grata by the State Department, but it also ruins his chances to win the votes of the undecided part of Tirana’s electorate.

However, Berisha seems determined in what he is doing. He continues to act as the real candidate for the municipality of Tirana. Now, since his chances of winning are slim, one cannot say if Berisha is going to take the blame for losing, or if he will leave that to Belind Kellici. The only thing that is safe to say, is that he is acting exactly how Erion Veliaj needs him to act, even saying the words that he wants him to say.

If this is the result of the fact that Edi Rama has been ignoring him for a long time, then it is probably a sound excuse. Veliaj at least is willing to debate him in place of Edi Rama. Personally, I think this is because Berisha is afraid that Belind Kellici was starting to believe that he was the candidate for Tirana’s municipality. Therefore, Berisha wants to tell him that they should either be accepted as one or Kellici will get destroyed with him.  

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