Published on : 05 May 2017

June 18, the time to decide for the Albania that we want

Good evening!

I have followed with great attention the public reactions to my efforts for a constructive dialogue, in order to involve the Democratic Party in the elections. I have a completely clear conscience because I have done and am doing everything I can in this regard. I have done and I’m doing this not for those who are in the tent, but for the average and reasonable democrats who deserve but respect, as fellow citizens of this country. The new institutional mechanism we have proposed for a real-time internal control of the government equality and transparency for everyone in the election race.

First of all, I want thank you for the endless support you give me in this not easy endeavour to tie again the broken thread of the democratic logic of the Democratic Party, and to do everything possible in view of the inclusion in the June 18 election process.

Many say repeatedly on social media or in live conversation, not to give up on the June 18 date, but you should not worry, as it is not in my hands, even if I wanted to. June 18 was not chosen by me or by any party. It was chosen by the Constitution for the people to judge the parties. Thus, as far as I am concerned, June 18 cannot be part of any negotiation among the parties because the parties have to guarantee and not negotiate the rights of the Sovereign people.  

Others keep me asking, why are you still dealing with them? Stop paying attention to them. I tell all these friends to be patient, and not forget any moment that I’m not only the leader of the biggest party in the country, but I’m also the Prime Minister. And I assure you that if as a party leader I’m not at all concerned about the DP wanting to keep on until the end with a political suicidal strategy, as a Prime Minister I cannot leave any rock unturned so that those citizens who want to vote for the DP can do so on June 18.

I’m one of those who laugh at the childish alarms of our professional big mouths who say that Albania risks to be left without opposition, because the history of democracy teaches that for as long as there is a choice and freedom to attend the elections, there is no chance that there will be no opposition in any country where elections take place. The Democratic Party is of course a historic party. But it would be neither the first nor the last historic party in the history of democracy that would leave the scene of history. This is painful for those who still love the PD, but it is normal for a dynamic democratic life.

There is one thing which is very important to keep in mind today. This ruling majority has not only done anything to push the Democratic Party in the path of self-destruction, where you are headed to in an irreversible way once you go off the track of the democratic system, but it has done everything for the opposite.

We've done everything, and we will do until the last second all we have to in order to guarantee the Democratic Party's participation in the elections, and not to leave its loyal voters without choice. But when the time for understanding is over, and if there is no result, we will accept with deep regret any decision of the DP leadership to go missing, as an exclusive right and responsibility of that leadership. Therefore, the insistence on dialogue with the opponent is not weakness, it is lucidity. Patience is not a feature of the weakest, but the virtue of the strongest. And do not forget, politics is a chess game, and they say that chess is a game where strategic patience exposes every tactical cheat.

But there are not a few among you as well, who have been thinking these last few days about the upcoming Sunday in Kavaja, and they are worried. They are right to be concerned. Some see May 7 as the day when the state must show all the force of law at any cost. Others are afraid of a possible collision that may have physical consequences for innocent citizens, in violation of their fundamental right to vote. Others fear the wider consequences of a conflict envisaged to be provoked in Kavaja with an aim to fuel destabilization in the country.

I want to be very honest with you.

The fact that there is a plan to destabilize the country; that the tent has been set up to put this plan into effect; that after those who are stuck in the tent because of the fear of justice, and that there are others who want destabilization just to damage Albania, all these are not conjectures. They are facts. But Albania will not be destabilized by this plan, I want to be clear, there is a plan to destabilize Albania, but it will not work. We will be determined and patient in making it completely fail, and everybody must be assured of this.

But our challenge is not May 7 in Kavaja where we govern at a local level and will continue to govern even on May 8, and likely for much longer. Our challenge is to go until June 18 by doing everything possible that the country will not be harmed by the convulsions caused by the fear of the Justice Reform. Our challenge is to have another mandate on June 18 to continue governing Albania, by proving every average citizen, even those who do not vote us, that the Albania we want is not only of the socialists, but also of the democrats; it is not only of those who agree with us, but also of those who disagree with us; it is not of any party that wants to use and abuse in the name of average people, but it is our common homeland, with a state, work and well-being.

Therefore we will not respond eye for an eye to the unconstitutional, anti-legal and anti-democratic provocation of those who are terrified by the upcoming justice and by the upcoming political elections. Kavaja will not be used and abused by the Democratic Party.

I have suggested to our candidate to withdraw from the Sunday race, and ask the other candidate to do the same. I make the same appeal to him in a friendly way.

There is always a moment when you must say the last word and play the last piece, but this moment is not May 7. Until May 7, I will focus on trying to persuade the Democratic Party to become a part of the reasonable solution I have proposed. Because May 7 coincides also with the end of the time available to guarantee the election process, without prejudice to the CEC's work for the preparation of ballot papers for June 18. I communicated this goal today also to the friends and international partners of Albania. They have also done and will do their best not to let the Democratic Party be transformed from a power that arose for human rights and freedoms, to a violent violator of the freedom and the right of every person of this country to choose with their vote, hindered by anyone and anything.

Stopping people from voting is a serious crime, and this crime, which has not occurred even in the most remote countries where democracy is much poorer than in Albania, cannot, should not and will not be allowed to happen in this country. We will not allow it, as will nobody in the family of the free countries where we belong. We neither have any reason nor is it required to make Kavaja tomorrow a place where such crime is attempted and punished. Because if those in the tent want to make some training with a criminal content in Kavaje, just to tarnish Albania as much as they can, and hurt and despair anybody they can, neither we, Albania nor our irreplaceable friends and partners need to be part of this ugly training before June 18, but we need to play the match of June 18 by paying all dues to the DP.  

In conclusion, I tell Lulezim Basha to leave Kavaja alone, to forget about postponing the date or even the very last term of the opportunity to enter the elections, which is May 8, and to focus on the solution that has been offered until May 7. I'm ready to sit down again with Lulzim. But this time to detail the offer he has on the table, and not to start from the beginning the same story of a caretaker government and of the postponement of the election indefinitely, with the ridiculous pretext of the preparation of electronic voting.

Elections will be held on June 18, and on Monday, May 8 I will not be available anymore for Lulzim Basha and the DP, if they don’t decide on my offer, on the immediate amendment of the Electoral Code according to the recommendations of Odhir, and of course on unblocking the Vetting.

So, dear fellow citizens I ask you to continue having a bit more patience. We are on the verge of a major development for our country and, with or without the DP, on June 18th the people will decide not just who will be in charge to govern Albania for the next four years, but how Next Generation Albania will be.

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