Controversy accompanies DP leadership campaign

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 14, 2017 08:37
The two candidates running to become the leader of Albania's main opposition Democratic Party, Lulzim Basha and Eduard Selami, walk with the party's historic leader Sali Berisha (center). (Photo: Archives)

The two candidates running to become the leader of Albania’s main opposition Democratic Party, Lulzim Basha and Eduard Selami, walk with the party’s historic leader Sali Berisha (center). (Photo: Archives)

TIRANA, July 13 – The two candidates running to become the leader of Albania’s main opposition Democratic Party, Lulzim Basha and Eduard Selami, are continuing their campaign tours around the country offering their alternatives to party members.

However, a group of critics led by Astrit Patozi, a former top DP lawmaker, have launched a parallel campaign with party members urging them to postpone the internal elections, which are seen as fake by the critics and simply aiming to continue the leadership of Basha.

“The Basha-Rama race is dangerous for the DP and Albanian democracy,” Patozi told Albanian media.

The Democrats suffered the worst electoral defeat in their history in the June 25 elections, leading to calls for the incumbent leader, Basha, to quit. Instead he said he would freeze his functions and seek another term at the helm.

Patozi says that “the current Basha-Selami race for the leader of the Democratic Party is neither fair nor equal, so should it be stopped to save the Democratic Party.”

“Selami as a candidate is being used so Basha can seize a second term at the helm of DP,” Patozi said, adding efforts to stop the race are “backed by a large number of DP politicians and members.”

Selami served as partly leader in the 1990s. He spent nearly two decades in the United States before returning to become a lawmaker again and had not been very active until he put his name forward to compete against Basha.

With a few days remaining until the July 22 race, the critics hope the DP National Council will vote to postpone the race so that Patozi and other candidates can run.

A large group of well-known figures within the party seeing it as unfair and favoring Basha, who they say should have resigned after leading the party to the worst electoral defeat in its 27-year history.

Critics say the time available is not long enough to guarantee a real electoral process, making the primary election a farce by which Basha intends to receive a second term under the table.

DP Vice Chairman Edi Paloka has said the selection of the new chairman will be democratic and will allow the party to come together. He said disagreements showed there was a healthy diversity of opinions in the party.

The opposition group’s request to postpone the election and to allow for a full analysis of the electoral loss, failed with in a vote.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 14, 2017 08:37