Why Berisha's electoral campaign started as a campaign against the US?

6 Prill 2023, 00:09Op-Ed Mero Baze

Sali Berisha and his supporters have engaged for the second day in a row in a campaign against the United States. At first it was Berisha who attacked the US Ambassador in Tirana, accusing her of corruption and illegally owned properties. Needless to say, these vile accusations are nothing else but evidence regarding Berisha’s standards of “truths.”

The attacks against Ambassador Yuri Kim came shortly after an interview, during which she invited Albanian citizens not vote for candidates who have been designated as non-grata by the State Department. Mrs. Kim mentioned Sali Berisha’s name as the symbol of the politician that should not be voted. On the other hand, she warned other politicians from the government’s side, who have been designated as non-grata and, even though they might not be running in the upcoming local elections, they stand behind certain candidates.

What was the reason for Berisha’s sudden harsh attacks against the United States? Firstly, Berisha believes that by fighting the US, he will unite his supporters, while radicalizing them even further and isolating them from all international influence. Having no political perspective in Albania, his only hope is to create an anti-West electorate that would not be influenced by international factor. Proof of this is Berisha’s battle against the next US Ambassador expected to arrive in Tirana, as he has done with all previous US diplomats. Anyone who can prove his or her willingness to attack the US Ambassador in Albania has a slight chance to be by Berisha’s side in the future, since this kind of alliance is a union between incriminated individuals. This is why the attacks against Mrs. Kim have come from those individuals who lack all political perspective in Albania.

Secondly, through his battle against the US, Sali Berisha is gradually preparing his and Ilir Meta’s excuse for losing in the local elections. Launching a campaign of attacks that targets the US rather than the government, Berisha and Meta are preparing to blame the US for their loss on May 14th. In other words, apart from the usual claims that Edi Rama “stole the elections,” they will also claim that the US supported the government against them.

Thirdly, the attacks against the United States serve also as a warning for specific candidates from Berisha’s group. It cannot be said that candidates like Belind Kellici, Igli Cara or Bardh Spahia are happy that their party is launching the electoral campaign by attacking the US Ambassador instead of attacking Edi Rama. Deep down, these candidates are not loyal to Sali Berisha, but hope to win some of his vote. On his end, Berisha is well aware of this and expects for them to choose between him and the US.

On the other hand, the United States has made clear that it considers Sali Berisha as America’s enemy in Albania. Therefore, they are not concerned if this battle will help him to win or lose votes. The priority of the US is its alliance with Albania and not the fight against Sali Berisha. Hence, its main concern is the risks that loom over Albanians if they vote for Sali Berisha and not the risks the latter poses for the US. As for Balkan individuals designated as non-grata, the US is not worried at all. They are an issue for their own citizens in the Balkans, but not for the US itself.




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