Erion Veliaj has received more support than he needs from several celebrities including Rita Ora and many others from Tirana’s showbiz world. In saying that he has exaggerated this kind of support, I mean that it is not something he needs in order to win the local elections and the support goes to prove the attention that he has given to celebrities. At the end of the day however, it is not an electoral need, but rather a parade of Veliaj’s connections with the art world and celebrities.
On the other hand, it is difficult to explain why the opposition seems to be angry at this fact. First and foremost, polls show an obvious difference between Veliaj and his opponents in Tirana, which means that the support of different celebrities does not change the public opinion. Even without this support, the Socialist candidate would still be winning. The fact that different celebrities want to appear by his side is a sign of gratitude about the relations that Veliaj has built with them during this time.
Secondly, it is rather pretentious to accuse an artist for taking sides during an electoral campaign when this is a well-known tradition around the world. The latest Presidential campaign in the United States involved many celebrities from the music and movie industries in supporting either candidate.
Furthermore, no one is stopping Belind Kellici from having celebrities on his side, since in a democratic country, political preferences are individual and moralists cannot decide who certain celebrities should support or not. Those daring to take a public stance are much braver than those who pretend to be neutral, since they do not know who is going to win.
Thirdly, the criticism and attacks against certain celebrities for supporting Erion Veliaj or for taking pictures with Edi Rama make one think that the opposition is not actually campaigning against Veliaj, but rather against celebrities. In other words, they are more focused in attacking celebrities rather than their political opponent.
A friendly suggestion for the opposition: take it easy. Erion Veliaj today has all the votes he needs to win and does not need the support of celebrities. As a matter of fact, it is difficult to say how many votes they can bring. The support of celebrities for Veliaj is rather the result of what he has done for the city’s artistic life.
The opposition’s anger is similar to what they feel when Erion Veliaj mentions the 40 new schools that he has built. One cannot expect for him to say what promises he has not kept or what has gone wrong in his municipality during this time. If the opposition is capable, it can find these on its own and force Veliaj to face them. As for celebrities, the opposition should not feel angry at them, since they are normal citizens, not asking for votes. All they need is the public’s attention towards their art.