Basha, between Scylla and Charybdys

Basha, between Scylla and Charybdys
This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and

By Eduard Zaloshnja

2017 was a difficult year for Basha.

When he protested in the tent in front of the Council of Ministers (April-May), it looked like the DP was forming a front along with the SMI (which looked as if it was helping the tent indirectly). But, on 18 May, Basha made a sudden turn. He made a deal with Rama and didn’t allow any possibility of coalitions for SMI and other small parties.  From a potential ally in the elections, SMI turned into the main target of Basha’s attacks during his electoral campaign.

The reason behind Basha’s unexpected turn seemed to relate to the fact that SMI had grown as a party in every election, when it was part of the large coalitions (declared and undeclared). In the only elections when this party found itself between two fires (in the 2009 elections), it had gone down to its lowest quotas since its creation (only 75 thousand votes).

Basha seemed to have done the agreement with Rama convinced that the SP was not going to be able to win 71 seats on its own and as a result, it would accept the Große Koalition (big coalition) of the two largest parties, in order to complete the judicial reform and to change the electoral system so that SMI and small political parties would no longer have any significant political value.

But, what Basha could not predict was the significant drop of the number of right wing voters in urban areas and the transfers of votes in rural areas from the right wing to the SP, SMI and Party for Justice, Integration and Unity.

As a result, although the SP obtained in June only 95% of the votes which it had obtained along with other ally parties four years ago, it managed to win 74 seats. So, it obtained more seats not because it grew as a party, but because the DP obtained 225 thousand fewer votes than four years ago.

So, after the elections, was truly ousted from power (like Basha had predicted), but the DP didn’t come in power either (like Basha had predicted).

And with the start of 2018, Basha needs to choose if the DP will enter the next elections in a coalition with SMI or not.

Being in a coalition with SMI may further shrink the DP. The attached chart suggests that there’s a strong correlation between the decline of DP and growth of SMI.

On the other hand, a race on its own poses the threat of an unequal race. The SP and its satellites have preserved their high quotations in the last three elections, while the DP and its satellites have fallen in their lowest quotas.

In fact, the chart attached shows us an image which reminds us the mythical rocks between Scylla and Charybdys. From above, the DP is threatened by the SP, which has around 800 thousand votes. From below, it is threatened by SMI, which aims at growing and obtaining more than 225 thousand votes.

Based on a recent televised interview, according to Basha, next year, there may be a coalition between DP and SMI… or not.

Note: The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy

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