From the end of an era to a historic triumph, all in one night. It happened in Albania, where the outgoing Prime Minister and Socialist Party leader Eddie Rama, who succumbed to defeat in the first election on Election Day, is now heading to a third consecutive term. With more than 50% of the divisions examined, the Socialist Party leads the election race with more than 461,000 preferences, equivalent to 48.8% of the vote.
According to expectations According to local media, the Rama party is expected to win 75 of the 140 seats in Parliament, nearly meeting the prime minister’s expectations on the eve of the vote. “What a dawn in Tirana,” the prime minister wrote on Instagram, who, despite criticism in recent years, is about to become the longest-serving prime minister in Albania’s history. Next, the Democratic Party (Pd), which won 39.3% of the vote and is advancing in only three of the twelve constituencies into which Albania is divided. The Socialist Movement for Integration led by Monica Kremadi, wife of the President of the Republic Ilir Meta, who signed a pre-election agreement with the Democratic Party with a commitment to cooperation after the elections, stopped at 6.8%.
A disappointing result For Walzim Pasha, the prime minister’s candidate is from the center-right at the head of the Alliance for Change that cannot bypass the traditional strongholds of the Democratic Party. Last night, with polling not yet started, the bacha declared his victory. “Albania voted for change”, the former mayor of Tirana said, commenting on some opinion polls that gave the opposition the victory.
The turnout was good, slightly higher than in past election rounds. In Albania, 48% of eligible voters went to the polls, another sign of the polarization of the political debate that led the major parties to mobilize their electoral base. The voting took place in an atmosphere of general calm, despite the tensions on the eve of the elections, which culminated in the shooting twice in Elbasan and Kavaga last week.
The surprise of the election round was the Social Democrats of the controversial Albanian businessman, Tom Doshi, or rather his resignation from the parliamentary seat in the wake of the vote. Doshi, excluded from the Socialist Party in 2015, is among the figures banned from entering the United States, and accused by the US State Department of “great corruption.”
The ambassador himself The American in Albania, Yuri Kim, pressured Rama not to collaborate with the entrepreneur. But Doshi took a step back yesterday, giving up the seat he won, to allow a government alliance between his party and the Rama Socialists. With this step, the Albanian businessman, who comes with two seats as a dowry, can facilitate the formation of a new government, especially if Rama’s advantage will diminish in the next few hours. A circumstance that is already fueling the debate over what is expected to be heated after the elections.
On the eve of the vote it was difficult to predict such an outcome for Rama, even for the prime minister himself, who remained silent after the votes were counted. Instead, the socialist leader was trapped across the country, including Doris, which was struck by the 2019 earthquake.
Albanian citizensHowever, they may have renewed their confidence in the prime minister due to the flaws of his opponents rather than in the results achieved by his governments. Therefore, the challenge for Rama will be precisely this, to understand the lesson of the vote that, unlike the numbers, indicates the erosion of the country’s consensus on it. The opposition, which in 2019 moved from street demonstrations to a boycott of Parliament, to polling in previous administrative elections, should instead decide whether to go big. Pd and Lsi will no longer be able to put off a remodel that allows them to build a truly reliable alternative to Rama. Leaving this thinking aside is an indictment of insignificance.