The DP did not fail to appoint its candidates, but rather failed to be unanimous in its stance regarding local elections

29 Mars 2023, 23:43Op-Ed Mero Baze

There is an effort to demonize what is being called the Democratic Party’s “inability” to come up with candidates for the 61 municipalities across the country. Those who lay such claims are not really sad about it, but rather as happy and content as Sali Berisha. However, the truth is that all those who are using this as an argument against the Democratic Party are actually lying regarding what is really happening with it.

The first official stance of the Democratic Party was that it would support Berisha’s candidates in the local elections under the condition that they would not run under Ilir Meta’s logo. This call for cooperation wasted almost all of the campaign time, which the Democratic Party could have used to select its own candidates. In the end, when Berisha refused to cooperate and forced his candidates to run for Ilir Meta, the Democratic Party decided to run with its own candidates. At this point, there were three different and competing stances that needed to be finalized in one week.

Firstly, there was Enkelejd Alibeaj’s stance that the Democratic Party needs to run in all 61 municipalities with its own candidates. Personally, I consider it as the most politically mature position that gives the Democratic Party an identity.

Being sceptical regarding timelines and expecting a positive response from Sali Berisha, the largest group of Democrat leaders suggested that they should select candidates only for the city councils. This was a battle that lasted until the very last moment.

The third group, which seems to be mainly observing rather than taking action, refused both previous options and is trying to take credits as the group that is pulling candidates from the competition.

Therefore, it is not that the Democratic Party was not capable to select 61 candidates for the local elections. As a matter of fact, there have been 2-3 candidates seeking to represent the party in every municipality across the country. The issue was that the majority of the party’s leadership was not convinced that they should have their mayoral candidates running. The current 19 candidates are simply a list of Enkelejd Alibeaj’s stance, to which he was loyal until the end, while allowing for the majority in his party to follow on their decision not to run in the local elections.

In other words, there isn’t a unanimous decision in the Democratic Party regarding participation in local elections. They have chosen to move forward with both options at the same time: having their candidates in certain municipalities, while leaving the field open in other municipalities for Berisha’s candidates.

Gazmend Bardhi, Jorida Tabaku and many others supported the idea that Democrats should run only for the city councils and in a way, they have won, since their option was picked for most municipalities. They will have to bear responsibilities regarding the results in said municipalities, whereas Alibeaj shall bear responsibilities for the municipalities where his candidates will run for mayors.

The Democratic Party did not fail to come up with candidates. It failed to come up with a unanimous stance regarding the local elections and hence is moving forward with two different options. One cannot say if this will play in favour or against the Berisha-Meta coalition, but it is not the DP’s leadership that decides how the electorate is going to vote. As we already witnessed, the DP’s leadership cannot even take a single unanimous decision.

At the party’s base, the people are already clear regarding who they will vote, including municipalities that have no candidates. They can only vote for the members of the city councils and must choose between Berisha’s and Meta’s candidates or someone else. It is precisely at the party’s base that we will witness if DP’s division has been reflected or not. Furthermore, there we shall see who was right regarding the electoral strategy.

Meanwhile, the same can be said for all other small opposition parties, especially the ones that have positioned themselves against Sali Berisha and Ilir Meta. Even though it is difficult to read their electorate, their public stance against Berisha and Meta is important in order to understand how honest there are.

All those who, until not too long ago, begged the Democratic Party not to have its candidates run against Berisha and Meta, are now angry that they could not come up with candidates for all 61 municipalities. This goes to show how “honest” they were when asking Democrats not appoint any candidates. Believing that they danger is over, now they seek to humiliate the Democratic Party.

At the end of the day, the leadership consists of about twenty people. There are hundreds of thousands of Democrat voters in Albania and if one is seeking vengeance, one should not be worried as who will the voters choose, but rather who they will vote against.

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