Local elections are ahead and chances that the opposition becomes part of these elections are almost zero. Democratic Party led by Lulzim Basha and the Socialist Movement for Integration led by Monika Kryemadhi are demanding Edi Rama’s resignation, the creation of an interim government and the holding of general elections along with local government elections. The chairman of the Socialist Party, Edi Rama has refused these demands and says that he will hold local government elections without the opposition.
These developments are commented for Albanian Free Press by Socialist Party MP, Namik Kopliku. He says that the number of people who participate in the protests does not even account for 2% of people who do not adhere in opposition parties.
The opposition’s protests are into their second month now. How do you consider the number of people who are attending these protests and the scope of these protests?
First of all, I don’t consider them to be massive. After a serious mobilization of the opposition parties, the number of participants doesn’t even account for 2% of those people who do not adhere in opposition parties. Nonetheless, these protests show that opposition parties don’t know what they’re doing.
What is their expected result?
I’m sure that the result will be nil.
However, the situation has become difficult after the opposition’s decision to resign from parliament.
The fact that they decided to resign from parliament shows that they do not offer any good alternative for Albanian people, therefore they’re hoping on taking extreme actions in order to achieve something.
Do you have a comment regarding reactions coming from public opinion and the international community on the current situation?
Albanian public opinion and the international community consider these actions to be extreme and ridiculous.
European Parliament and EU officials condemned the opposition’s decision to resign from parliament, but the opposition is not withdrawing. Why is this happening?
It’s pointless for public opinion and the international community to put pressure on the opposition. I think that the only thing that can be done is to ignore them. If there was a shred of truthfulness in their claims, then people would massively support them. Perhaps the day will come when they’ll be clear in their demands and then, they could also hope for massive support.
On the other hand, a lot has been said about a possible interference by Russia.
I don’t blame people for thinking this, because nothing can justify the opposition’s decision to resign from parliament.
What other alternative did they have?
They could continue their political confrontation by remaining in Parliament.
Is Rama stronger or weaker as a result of these protests?
I don’t think Rama’s position has strengthened as a result of these protests, but it hasn’t weakened either. At least in the Albanian public opinion. Perhaps this absurd situation will force Rama to find an “extra” logical and political solution, but that day may come when PM Rama really has the upper hand against the opposition. At that moment, the opposition may not agree to apply the “solution” that it’s asking today. This is why things are absurd, because they defy all logic.
How do you see the upcoming opposition’s protest on March 16? Will there be violence?
The March 16 protest will not be any different to the ones that we’ve seen today. I think there will be fewer people attending them and there will be no new ideas. Violence can emerge at any moment, but it will not have any impact on the majority and government. But the country’s image will be damaged, because this is the price that needs to be paid in for leaving the interests of the country in the hands of such irresponsible people.
You spoke about damages being done to the country’s image. Does this have an impact on the opening of negotiations in June and what further developments are you expecting to see?
This situation does have an effect on the negotiations, but I also think that this process mostly depends on Europe’s interests and will. The effect that the situation in the country will have is insignificant.
How do you predict the current situation to evolve?
It’s not easy to make a prediction, but if the opposition will continue like this, it will weaken and it will strengthen the Socialist Party. /ibna/