By Eduard Zaloshnja
Lulzim Basha and Monika Kryemadhi have declared that the protests announced for the end of the January will mark the end of Rama’s government. If this objective is achieved, this would be the first time in three decades that an Albanian government would fall as a result of pressure from below.
It’s true that in 1991, Nano’s government fell after the general workers’ strike and hunger strike by miners of Valias, but the government did not fall as a result of them. The real cause was the fall of communism all over Eastern Europe and the economic isolation of the Albanian communist state. If Albanian communists would not have cut political and economic ties with communist China, protests in Tirana would end up the same as the protests in Tiananmen Square, where thousands of Chinese students were killed and crushed by the tanks of the Communist guard.
It’s true that in 1997, after the revolts caused by the fall of the Ponzi schemes, Tirana was engulfed by protests and Berisha accepted the resignation of the democrat government and the formation of a temporary government with a socialist PM in charge of it. But, the real cause of the fall of the government must be searched in 1996.
After the elections held in May of that year, the US government officially requested Berisha to repeat the elections in those 40 constituencies, as the reports of international monitors had identified serious violations in them. The repetition of elections in those constituencies could threaten 2/3 of parliamentary seats that Berisha needed to be reelected as President of Republic. So, he never accepted the official request made by the USA.
Only five months after the parliamentary elections, the local government elections would take place and Berisha wanted to win over 2/3 of municipalities, in order to legitimize the result of the May elections. When IMF and World Bank (where USA holds the controlling part of the shares) publicly warned about the financial catastrophe that threatened those who invested their savings in the Ponzi schemes, Berisha declared that the money of the Albanian people was more than safe in these companies. He wanted Albanian voters to be happy until the October elections, in order for them to vote the Democratic Party in majority. (The motto of the Democratic Party in those elections was: “Everyone wins with us” and the presidents of the Ponzi scheme companies were often seen in its electoral podiums.)
Unfortunately, the majority of Albanian people listened to Berisha more than they did to IMF and World Bank. Instead of withdrawing their investments from the Ponzi schemes, they sold their homes and belongings and invested the money in them, attracted by the interest rates that grew every day. And as the IMF and the World Bank had announced, immediately after the elections (in which the Democratic Party won 80% of the ballots), the Ponzi schemes started to go bust. This also led to Berisha leaving the post of the President. If Berisha had accepted the request of the Americans for the repetition of elections in 40 constituencies, the Ponzi schemes would be shut down before they caused a tragedy for Albanians and the democrat government would complete its term in office.
In 1998, after Azem Hajdari’s murder, Berisha tried to regain power by holding a protest. In fact, protesters managed to seize almost every government building. One of Berisha’s men actually declared on state TV that the government had fallen and the opposition would form a new government. But, a few phone calls with Western chancelleries were needed in order for Berisha to withdraw his protesters from the government’s buildings. And he had to wait another 7 years to come back to power, through elections.
Currently, the protests that the opposition is planning to launch at the end of January could overthrow Rama’s government only if Western chancelleries issue strong signals that they want such thing. No matter how many quotations of Thomas Jefferson Basha mentions and no matter how many times Kryemadhi pledges that the government will fall, in a country like Albania, the government doesn’t fall if Western chancelleries do not want unrest.
Let us not forget that we are a small country, which would not have won its independence through popular uprising. Our independence was officially sealed once it was recognized by Western chancelleries in London.
Note: The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy