Interviewed for Albanian Free Press by Albert Zholi
The opposition has been absent in Parliament since September and the end of the year is coming. Did opposition parties make a unanimous decision on this?
Given that we’re an opposition formation, this means that we’re united in our decisions, although we have differences.
What is the main reason you’re being absent in Parliament?
The main reason relates to the fact that we’re dealing with a parliamentary majority which has come in power by stealing votes, otherwise said, a majority which has come in power through the money generated from the sale of cannabis. We’re also dealing with a majority which is not approving our request for the vetting of politicians. Today, the political situation is in a gridlock because the fact that parliament is not functioning as it should do, is leaving many things suspended. The best thing would be for us to be in Parliament and to voice the problems and the concerns that Albanians have today, but we have decided to withdraw in order for the government to reflect on our demands. We’re building a new strategy for the future. Let’s stop on the budget. We have our reserves on the budget and as an opposition, we will voice our objections outside parliament. We’re in a difficult situation, which, in my opinion, could lead to snap polls or local government elections and general elections being held at the same time. And this is one of the new demands that the opposition will address.
Does the opposition have the backing of the international community in the way it’s reacting?
The international community is offering its guidelines, but it doesn’t know the problems of our country as much as we do. We do have its support, despite the fact that there have been different reactions. At the end of the day, it’s us who decide how to act to take the opposition’s vision forward. On the other hand, the majority doesn’t have the support of the international community either. The numerous problems that this government has caused have led to a lot of discontent. Some of the problems that we can mention here include massive corruption, PPP tenders, nepotism, and politicized administration. So, the majority does not have the same support it had two years ago by the international community.
According to you, what are some of the problems relating to “Rama 2” cabinet?
There are many. Taxes have gone up. Households have fewer disposable incomes. There are problems with law and order and we’re seeing gangs causing a lot of trouble amongst the population. However, the way this cabinet is governing has also received a lot of criticism. This is an arrogant government where the majority of ministers have been in power for 8 years and they’re only interested on working for themselves. The same thing that happened with “Berisha 2” government is happening now. The same people, the same faces who manifest the same problems. This is not the way forward. KLSH is reporting lots of abuses. Corruption in many levels. The economy is concentrated in a few hands and has become like a monopoly. Our country and the two largest parties, SP and DP have many figures who could occupy ministerial posts and who could perform much better than the current ministers or the ministers who used to serve under Berisha’s government. The administration has been usurped by people who have close connections with the Prime Minister. So, there are many problems, but we’re also fully committed to fighting back.
Do you think the opposition could win the local government elections through this way of organizing itself?
The opposition is trying to find the right path to enter the local government elections with the conviction that it can win. But there are many obstacles and very few opportunities to reach the objectives, because the majority controls the state, the main municipalities and it exploits everything to win. The majority promises people jobs or different favours. I have my reserves concerning the victory in Durres. If the electoral code does not change, then victory will be difficult for us. This is one of our main objectives, to be able to change the electoral code. We need an electronic way of voting, in order for us to avoid electoral theft.
Can the opposition win in Durres after the numerous accusations that have been launched against current mayor Dako?
I’m sorry to say this, but no, it cannot win. The Socialist Party is well organized in Durres and has invested a lot for its supporters in this city. It doesn’t matter who the opposition runs in these elections, because it’s very hard to win in Durres. A victory in Durres would be much bigger than a victory in Tirana. If it won’t be Dako, then the SP will run another figure who will win.