2017: “The New Republic”, a technocrat government and a new term in office of the left

2017: “The New Republic”, a technocrat government and a new term in office of the left
A protest in the middle of the main square of the capital, just below the Prime Minister’s office, which lasted for 90 days in a row. A technocrat government, in which the opposition appointed 6 ministers and the deputy PM. All of this was achieved by the constant pressure exerted by the opposition for the installment of the so called “New Republic”. However, this didn’t generate anything else but the victory of the left in the June 25, 2017 elections and another left wing government in office. This government launched a number of new incentives immediately after it was elected in office. Meanwhile, the country is hoping that next year will be a good year in the political point of view, in order to give way to the much anticipated process of negotiations for accession in the European Union.

This has been Albania’s political journey during 2017, a year which was not an easy one, while the crises were numerous,having a negative effect not only on the economy, but also psychological effects on the citizens of this country. The year started with tension caused by the opposition, which launched endless accusations against the government for abuse of power and the possibility of buying the 25 June 2017 votes through the so called “drug money”. This “drug money” were mentioned a lot during the so called “Freedom Tent”, which remained in the main square of the capital for three months. The opposition considered this as a threat not only for security, but also for the economy of the country. This tent was removed on the night of 18 May, after the two main political leaders in the country, Edi Rama and LulzimBasha shook hands and confirmed that they struck a political agreement on the constitutional amendments of the electoral system. However, the opposition leader added that engagement for the constitutional reform continues and the battle of the opposition doesn’t end here and that it would continue until the creation of the so called “New Republic”. The deal struck on 18 May 2017 would follow the creation of a joint technocrat government between the ruling party and the opposition, an “experiment” applied for the first time in the country, where key ministries such as the Interior ministry, the Justice ministry, the Finance ministry and even the post of the deputy Prime Minister were left to the opposition, in an attempt to meet the conditions of the opposition which aimed at addressing fears of a possible rigged process in the June 25 elections. However, according to the opposition, the polls were nonetheless rigged in spite of the presence of its ministers in the governing cabinet. A technical report drafted by the technocrat ministers even requested an inquiry over the plummeting of the value of euro in the domestic currency exchange market during this year, under the pretext that this was caused by an overproduction of cannabis and the use of the money generated by cannabis to rig the electoral result of the June 25 polls. The general elections produced a new left wing government, which determined the fate of all the political developments during the second half of this year, full of reforms and new incentives that would follow the reforms started during the first term in office, from 2013-2017.


SMI leaves the government in the second half of the year

It can be easily said that the biggest changes this year have taken place with the Socialist Movement for Integration, at least in terms of its participation in the government of the country. So, while in the first half of the year it has been part of the joint coalition with the Socialist Party, which was formed after the June 2013 election, after the June 25 general elections, this party could no longer be part of the cabinet. Now, SMI is in opposition along with the Democratic Party, as the Socialist Party managed to win a parliamentary majority of 74 seats with the need to forge a coalition with SMI.


The Socialist Party governs on its own without the need for coalitions

 This year can be considered as an important one for the Socialist Party, as it managed to secure the necessary parliamentary majority. This enabled this political party to form a government on its own without the need of forging coalitions with other political forces. Let us not forget that during the election campaign for the 25 June 2017 polls, Prime Minister and leader of SP, Edi Rama, often asked voters to trust him the “government steering wheel”, because, according to him, this would be the only to continue the reforms that were started in the first term in office. This became reality as the Socialist Party managed to win 74 seats and formed a government without any “SMIs” in it. On the other hand, the opposition contested the June 25 elections, claiming that “the process was bought through crime money”.

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