Albanian opposition seeks electoral reform as it battles to contain bitter internal fight

Tirana, 21 Sept 2017 (Tirana Echo) – The Democratic Party (DP) Albania’s main opposition group has said it will seek in parliament the establishment of the ad-hoc Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform, while its leadership struggles to contain a growing bitter internal fight.

DP Deputy Chair and Parliament’s Vice Chair Mr. Edi Paloka said that the ad-hoc Parliamentary Committee’s activity will focus on two issues: preventing vote-bargaining and introducing electronic voting and ballot counting.

According to newspapers, part of the DP proposals on electoral reform will be the restoration of the majoritarian voting system and the country’s division into 100 electoral administration zones that will produce the 100 MPs of the Albanian parliament. Earlier this month, DP Chair Lulzim Basha described the electoral reform as the only way and chance for the change of power in Albania to be peaceful and institutional. According to the same source, the major ruling majority proposal on the electoral reform will be that related to enabling the vote of emigrants in the Albanian elections.

The decision comes after several weeks of internal battling at the DP headquarters, where several former senior figures of the Democratic Party, expelled from June elections’ parliamentary lists, have challenged DP chair Lulzim Basha asking for his resignation.

Former Democratic Party (DP) senior figure Mr. Astrit Patozi said on Friday that he would accept Lulzim Basha as a legitimate DP Chair provided that the latter recognizes the existence of the anti-Basha faction inside this political party.

Patozi said that only by recognizing the rights of the “generals”, who according to him were the members of the anti-Basha faction, such as Majlinda Bregu, Jozefina Topalli, etc., to be represented in the party’s forums, Basha could be forgiven about his serious violations of the party statute, the personal candidate list he had put together, and the personal and occult agreement reached with Rama, and the electoral “massacre” engineered to confirm his re-election.

According to Patozi, this would sanction the existence of alternative thinking within the DP. For Patozi, Berisha’s critiques for Basha albeit being right were quite belated. According to him, the DP is currently facing a triple crisis: a crisis of representation, for the Parliamentary Group did not represent the DP at large but only Basha and his associates, a crisis of morals, and a crisis of ideas. He did not rule out the option of establishing a new political party, together with the above DP officials.

Internal battles come after June’s general elections, where Basha’s DP did not manage to pose a serious challenge to PM Edi Rama’s socialist party, allowing him to win a clear governing second mandate.

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