By Eduard Zaloshnja
A massive protest is expected to be held tomorrow in the Martyrs of the Nation Boulevard, called by the Democratic Party. Some politicians of the Democratic Party have publicly guaranteed that this will be a peaceful protest, but Berisha, the de facto leader of the DP, said the following a few days ago: “I can assure you and you shall see, that the next protest will be even bigger [than the February 18]. And the management of this protest will be the main problem; because you may control them [the protests] once, but next time, they will control you. This is the problem.”
As far as parliamentary elections are concerned, Berisha has constantly declared that the DP has not boycotted and will never boycott the elections; it will simply not allow the elections to be held without the creation of a technocrat government.
Altogether, Berisha’s declarations say that his strategy to block the parliamentary elections has been divided into two levels.
With the first level, through tomorrow’s protest, Berisha wants to threaten with violence Edi Rama and western chancelleries, in order for the parliamentary elections not to be held on the day decreed by President Nishani-the same way that the local government elections were cancelled in Kavaja on 7 May. If, as a result of this threat, the general elections are postponed, then the path is paved for negotiations, in which Rama will enter in a weak position.
But if Rama doesn’t withdraw and if western chancelleries do not express their disagreement with the holding of the elections without the DP, Berisha passes onto his second level of threats. On this level, he will try to intimidate those simple voters who intend on participating in the elections.
In normal circumstances, a simple voter will have two options on Election Day. First of all, he must choose whether he should go and vote for the available political offers or decide to stay home (or go somewhere else). Secondly, if he decides to go to the polling center, he must choose which party he should vote (or make the vote intentionally invalid).
Berisha’s threat that the DP will not allow the holding of elections without the creation of a caretaker government, aims at intimidating those voters who in normal circumstances would choose to the polling centers, because some of them may be scared of the violent incidents that the DP militants may cause.
In fact, this strategy would be more successful in Kavaja, where thousands of DP militants were expected to gather from all over Albania with the aim of blocking voting in 100 polling stations, located inside a small municipality. Meanwhile, in the general elections, these thousands militants need to block 5500 polling stations all over the territory of Albania.
An opinion poll that I published on Sunday in a TV network, suggests that over one million voters who live in Albania are determined to vote for one of the 15 parties registered at the Central Election Commission even if the Democratic Party doesn’t participate in the elections. Meanwhile, around 140 thousand are still undetermined if they will vote or not.
In other words, if the thousands of militants that Berisha may engage will not be able to intimidate over 1 million voters who are determined to vote, then the parliamentary elections would have a numerical legitimacy, because the number of “slaps” given to Berisha four years ago were actually 1 million.
And if international observers decide to declare them as “acceptable elections given the circumstances”, the history of parliamentary elections would be settled. Otherwise…
In a broader democratic aspect, the opinion poll that I published on Sunday suggested that only quarter of the voters that live in Albania don’t want elections to be held without the participation of the Democratic Party. So, if Berisha’s strategy works out, then only a quarter of the voters will impose itself to the other three quarters…
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