Democratic Party of Albania

The Democratic Party of Albania (Albanian: Partia Demokratike e Shqipërisë, PD or PDSH) is a conservative[8][9][10] political party in Albania. It has been the largest opposition party in the country since 2013.

Democratic Party of Albania
Partia Demokratike e Shqipërisë
AbbreviationPD[1]
ChairmanDisputed[2] between Enkelejd Alibeaj and Sali Berisha
Leader of the Parliamentary GroupDisputed between Enkelejd Alibeaj and Luçiano Boçi[3]
General SecretaryDisputed between Gazment Bardhi[4] and Flamur Noka[5]
Founded12 December 1990[6]
HeadquartersBulevardi Zhan D'Ark 11, 1001 Tirana, Albania
NewspaperRilindja Demokratike
Student wingGrupimi Rinor Universitar Demokrat
Youth wingForumi Rinor i Partisë Demokratike
Membership (2021)44,000[7]
Ideology
Political positionCentre-right[1][11]
European affiliationEuropean People's Party (associate)[12]
International affiliationCentrist Democrat International
International Democrat Union
SloganShqipëria si Europa! (Albania [becoming] like Europe!)
National Assembly
48 / 140
Municipality
1 / 61
Website
pdsh.al

The Democratic Party of Albania was founded in 1990 as a strongly anti-communist party with the majority of its followers being from politically persecuted dissidents of the communist dictatorial regime of Enver Hoxha.

In international relations, the Democratic Party of Albania is an associate member of the European People's Party and a full member of International Democrat Union.

HistoryEdit

FoundationEdit

The Democratic Party was founded on 12 December 1990 with major involvement from Avdyl Matoshi, Azem Hajdari, Sali Berisha and Gramoz Pashko,[13] and Arben Imami, Edmond Budina, Eduart Selami, Genc Ruli, Merita Zaloshnja, Aleksandër Meksi involved only in the early stages of the formation of the party. It is the first opposition party in Albania after more than 45 years of a communist leadership.[14][15] The party was created as an anti-communist movement.[16]

31 March 1991: First pluralist electionsEdit

The First Pluralist would be the first elections since 1923 to allow more than one Party. The Ruling Labour Party of Albania during the 1991 Elections had the biggest advantage during the election. Including the influence over the media.[17] There was no opportunity for the Democratic party and other Anti-Communist parties in the election to influence the rural country side. The Democratic Party platform had promised the transformation of living standards through membership in the European Community, strong connection with the United States and other Western nations, Gastarbeiter in German factories abroad, and immediate steps towards a free-market economy.[17] Which resulted in the Democratic Party coming in second place in results. The Democratic party would ultimately win in the next Election.

22 March 1992: Second pluralist parliamentary presidential electionsEdit

The Democratic Party of Albania won the parliamentary elections of 22 March 1992,[18] the second free and fair elections after many decades of mandatory and single communist party candidate elections. Sali Berisha its leader was elected as the second President of Albania, which at the time had executive powers, and Aleksandër Meksi as Prime Minister.[19][20] Sali Berisha with significant contribution in the formation of the party, and Aleksandër Meksi with minor contribution. The second pluralist government of Albania governed by the Democratic Party and its leader was tasked with executing reforms to turn the country from a communist style everything in the hands of the government rule into a democratic country based in free markets, property rights, individual rights, and without interference of the government in the private lives of its citizens.[21][22]

26 May 1996 Presidential electionsEdit

Four years after the second free and fair elections, new free and fair election in respect to the new Constitution of Albania adopted in 1991, conform other democratic western and European countries were due. The elections were held on 26 May 1996.[23][24] The main and well known political leaders of the party that governed the Republic of Albania for more than 45 years, under a ruthless regime, were no longer a major participant in the election. However, the party itself and its new and less known leaders at the time of the former Labor Party, the main political party during the communist regime was reformed, changed its platform conform to other parties that held the same believes, mainly left-wing philosophies, conform democratic standards, and its name to the Socialist Party of Albania. It was the only serious opponent and challenger to the Democratic Party of Albania in the 26 May 1996 presidential elections.[24] During these elections the international election observers were limited in numbers.[25] The Democratic Party of Albania and its allies were able to win more than 71 seats in the parliament, on the Presidential Election of 26 May 1996, enough to form the majority and stay in government.[26] Sali Berisha and Aleksandër Meksi respectively remained President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, until new parliamentary election were called due to the Ponzi-Schemes crisis, held on 29 June 1997.[26]

29 June 1997 parliamentary electionsEdit

The Ponzi-Schemes lead to civil unrest that culminated in early spring of 1997. The crisis was deeply severe. The government led by the Democratic Party of Albania and its leader due to civil unrest was not able to function properly in many parts of the country, especially in the south of Albania.[27] The fact that these Ponzi-Schemes were endorsed by the government (led by the Democratic Party of Albania) or suggested people to invest in these schemes and the majority of the people who invested in these Ponzi-Schemes blamed the Democratic Party's government for the failure of the Ponzi-Schemes. As a result of this crisis and internal civil unrest new parliamentary election were called on 29 June 1997 to sooth the situation.[27][28][29] As a result of these elections the Democratic Party of Albania lost its elections to its opposition party, Socialist Party of Albania.[30][31]

A little more than a year after the Socialist Party of Albania took control of the government on 12 September 1998 Azem Hajdari one of the founding members of the Democratic Party of Albania and a very important political figure within the party was assassinated. His assassination lead to further unrest in Albania.[32] The Democratic Party of Albania was in opposition and its leader, the former President of Albania (with executive powers), who was in the leadership of the party during this time, Sali Berisha, accused the government of the Socialist Party of Albania as the perpetrator of the assassination of Azem Hajdari.[33]

24 June 2001 parliamentary electionsEdit

On 24 June 2001 the next parliamentary elections on the due date as provided by the constitution were held. These elections were also lost by the Democratic Party of Albania although not as deeply as the previous elections. The Democratic Party alleged irregularities and did not accept the result of the elections.[34] ODHIR and OSCE which were involved in monitoring the elections and as an independent party declared on their final report that the elections were marked by irregularities and that repeated voting in some electoral zones increased the violations and irregularities of the election. To what extent these irregularities and violations helped the Socialist Party of Albania win in such a wide range was not determined or conclusive in the election report.[35]

3 July 2005 parliamentary electionsEdit

In the 2005 parliamentary elections, the Democratic Party won 56 of the 140 seats and its allies won 18 under the call Time to Change (Koha per Ndryshim). Two other parties also joined the new coalition (PAA of the left wing & PBDNJ of the Greek minority, with 4 and 2 seats, respectively). This meant that with a combined total of 79 seats, the Democratic Party and its allies were able to form a government with Sali Berisha becoming Prime Minister. One of his priorities was Albanian integration to NATO, an objective he accomplished in 2009 when Albania and Croatia were accepted as members. The biggest tragedy after Albanian Civil War happened in Saturday 15 March 2008 which is known as 2008 Gërdec explosions . Officially, Albanian authorities confirmed 26 deaths in the explosions. Officials report the number of injured people at over 300. According to figures published by the Prime Minister's Office, 2,306 buildings were damaged or destroyed in the explosions. Of these, 318 houses were destroyed completely, 200 buildings were seriously damaged, and 188 buildings were less seriously damaged.[36][37]

28 June 2009 parliamentary electionsEdit

On 28 June 2009 the next elections that were due on the date provided were held. The elections were won by the Democratic Party with its electoral alliance.[38] Alliance of Change (Aleance e Ndryshimit). The alliance consisted of mostly Right Wing parties. Shortly before the election the Ethnic Greek unity party had switched to join the Center Left alliance of Edi Rama Unification for Change (Bashkimi për Ndryshim). Due to the PDIU, a party representing the interest of Cham Albanians whose properties in Greece were seized after the Second world war. Nevertheless the Democratic party with its alliance had won 70 out of the 140 seats.[39] It was unclear whether the Democratic party and its alliance had won 70 or 71.[40] On 4 July 2009, Ilir Meta leader of LSI announced he had accepted a deal to form a working majority coalition. Making PD and its alliance have 74 out of 140.[41]

23 June 2013 parliamentary electionsEdit

After the defeat in the 2013 parliamentary election, Berisha announced his resignation as party leader. A one-member-one-vote election was held for the first time on 23 July 2013, in which Lulzim Basha defeated his opponent Sokol Olldashi and was elected Chairman of the Democratic Party.[42][43]

On 30 September 2014, a national congress of the Democratic Party was held to elect a new leadership and to announce a tough reform of the party.[44][citation needed]

On the 26th anniversary of the Democratic Party, party leader Basha announced his program for the further modernization and democratisation of the party ahead of the 2017 parliamentary elections.

After previously promising that 35% of the parliamentary candidates would consist of members from the youth movement of the Party, Basha now announced a limitations of all mandates of the party leaders to a two-year term, and the full democratisation of the internal election process.[45]

25 June 2017 parliamentary electionsEdit

On 18 February 2017 members of the Democratic Party and other opposition parties, under the leadership of Basha pitched a giant tent outside the Prime Minister's office in Tirana after thousands of protesters rallied to demand free elections and a technocrat government. The opposition protest further escalated into a larger political conflict. The Democratic Party and its allies refused to register to take part in the 25 June general election, until the government will accept their conditions to secure a free and democratic election.[46][47]

25 April 2021 parliamentary electionsEdit

 
1992 Logo of the Democratic Party of Albania
 
1997 Design of the Democratic Party logo

On 16 February 2019 the Albanian opposition led by Lulzim Basha protested for three years under his leadership, with the goals of removing Edi Rama from power. The opposition coalition consists of the Democratic Party (PD), the Socialist Movement for Integration, the Party for Justice, Integration and Unity, the Republican Party and other minor opposition parties. After the first protests opposition MPs decided to resign in mass from parliament, more than 40 seats were vacated.[48] Due to the protests the opposition parties decided to boycott the local elections that were previously set to be held on 30 June 2019. Lulzim Basha formed an alliance with minority parties, forming the Democratic Party Alliance for Change (Partia Demokratike - Aleanca për Ndryshim).[49] However this was not enough to deliver the Democratic Party a victory, it did however increase its seats in Parliament[50] and the 2021 Albanian parliamentary election would be the third loss in a row for the Democratic Party.[51] Following the election aftermath Sali Berisha had been declared Persona Non Grata by the United States.[52] Which resulted in Lulzim Basha expelling Berisha from the parliamentary group[53] and begun causing party internal fighting between members of Basha's faction and Berisha's faction. On 11 December at Arena Kombëtare, the Berisha faction held a national council to remove Basha and his members from the party leadership. More than 4,446 voted for the removal of Lulzim Basha from party leader of the Democratic Party.[54] However, Basha did not recognize the results and the party internal feuds continued. On 6 March 2022 Partial Local elections for Specifically, Shkodër, Durrës, Dibër, Vorë, Rrogozhinë, and Lushnjë. Many supporters had left to support Sali Berisha's coalition "House of Freedom" during the party internal feuds. Which resulted in The Democratic party being placed third and second. While Sali Berisha and his coalition coming first place in Shkodër.[55][56] Following the defeats in the partial local elections, Lulzim Basha stepped down which resulted in Sali Berisha and Enkelejd Alibeaj having disputes over leadership of the party.[57][58] Although not just Alibeaj and Berisha, members of Berisha's factions as well began to have disputes between each other, specifically between Belind Këlliçi and Evi Kokalari. Këlliçi had accused Kokalari that she had been attacking him and claimed that "Kokalari took time to hit me with some of the accusations and slanders used by the Socialists against me." As a result Këlliçi had taken Kokalari to trial and responded to the accusations that Evi Kokalari has made against him with a defamation lawsuit, where he demands 1 million Lek in compensation.[59][60] On 7 July 2022 a big protest was held in Tirana in front of the Prime Minster's Office, Sali Berisha as defacto Chairman of the party had called it weeks before.[61] The protest was called under the motto and slogan "Albania in Danger" (Shqipëria në rrezik). Sali Berisha stated that the future of Albania and the Albanians was at risk and the stake of the fatherland was in their hands.[62]

HeadquartersEdit

The party's headquarters are located in Tirana, capital city of Albania,[63] not too far away from the Albanian Parliament (approximately 50 meters away). The newspaper Rilindja Demokratike, the Democratic Party's main news organ, is located at the same headquarters building.

Election resultsEdit

Election Votes % Seats +/– Government
1991 720,948 38.7 (#2)
75 / 250
  75 Opposition
1992 1,046,193 57.3 (#1)
92 / 140
  17 Coalition
1996 914,218 55.2 (#1)
122 / 140
  30 Coalition
1997 315,677 24.1 (#2)
24 / 155
  98 Opposition
2001 494,272 36.9 (#2)
46 / 140
  20 Opposition
2005 602,066 44.2 (#1)
56 / 140
  10 Coalition
2009 610,463 40.2 (#2)
68 / 140
  12 Coalition
2013 528,373 30.6 (#2)
50 / 140
  18 Opposition
2017 427,778 28.8 (#2)
43 / 140
  7 Opposition
2021 622,234 39.4 (#2)
59 / 140
  13 Opposition

IdeologyEdit

The Democratic party of Albania is considered to be a Centre-right to Right Wing party that holds Liberal Conservative and Conservative views. However, the party has members that also hold National Conservative views.[64] The Democrats also support NATO and is also pro-European, and supports accession of Albania to the European Union.[65]

Party Split (2021–)Edit

Following the split between Berisha and Alibeaj on the party leadership. Many of Pro-Berisha deputies were expelled by Alibeaj as a fear that he would be removed as leader of Group leader in Parliament.[66][67] The party in total has split into Five categories in the party. As listed below:[68]

Pro-Alibeaj Pro-Berisha Neutral Expelled by Alibeaj Mixed Deputies
Arbi Agalliu Bujar Leskaj Agron Gjekmarkaj Agron Shehaj Merita Bakiu
Dashnor Sula Edi Paloka Oriela Nebiaj Albana Vokshi Elda Hoti
Enkelejd Alibeaj Ervin Salianji Bledjon Nallbati Belind Këlliçi Emilia Koliqi
Eralda Bano Ina Zhupa Dhurata Çupi Edmond Spaho Andia Ulliri
Flamur Hoxha Isuf Çelaj Fation Veizaj Flamur Noka Ilda Dhori
Gazment Bardhi Greta Bardeli Ferdinand Xhaferraj Luan Baçi Kasem Mahmutaj
Helidon Bushati Kastriot Piroli Flutura Açka Tritan Shehu Selaudin Jaupllari
Jorida Tabaku Lindita Metaliaj Petrit Doda Oerd Bylykbashi
Kreshnik Çollaku Sorina Koti Sali Berisha
Lefter Gështenja Tomor Alizoti
Lulzim Basha Xhelal Mziu
Orjola Pampuri Zef Hila
Zheni Gjergji Luçiano Boçi
Ramadan Likaj
Saimir Korreshi

Party leadersEdit

Person Period
Sali Berisha 1990 – 2013
Lulzim Basha 2013 – 2022
Sali Berisha 2022–present

ReferencesEdit

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