New Albanian Party to Contest Polls as Opposition Vows Boycott

A group of former opposition Democratic Party officials have founded a party called Democratic Conviction, saying they will contest the June 30 local elections – although a new opposition coalition threatened to boycott the polls.

A group of former Democratic Party officials set up a new party called Democratic Conviction on Tuesday, promising they will participate in the upcoming local elections scheduled for June 30.

Led by Astrit Patozi, a former deputy chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party, the new party says it hopes to be the main electoral alternative to both the government and the opposition.

“Our political system is based on mutual guarantees provided for each other by the two main rivals in the country, whose aim is to subdue any democratic spirit in their respective camps,” Patozi wrote on Facebook note as he announcedthe new party.

“We are not living under a parliamentary democracy but under a system in which the party in power controls everything. We are living under a party regime,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party signed protocols to create a coalition with several smaller parties, including Socialist Movement for Integration, a nominally left-wing party.

Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha said the coalition will refuse to participate in the elections and called for Prime Minister Edi Rama’s resignation.

“There will be no fake elections,” Basha said.

Responding to his statement, Rama said in a Twitter post that the elections will go ahead as planned on June 30 despite any boycott.

“A coalition against the elections is another form of political suicide,” Rama wrote.

“The elections will not be stopped, nor they will be postponed,” he added.

The Democratic Party, which represents the main opposition in Albania, decided to withdraw its MPs from parliament last February and has staged several major protests, some of which ended in violence.

However, since it left parliament, some of its candidates have agreed to take their seats in parliament and created a new parliamentary group.

Led by Rudina Hajdari, a daughter of a legendary Democratic Party leader who was murdered in 1998, the group has currently about 14 MPs.

However, Hajdari dismissed speculation about an alliance between her group and the new Democratic Conviction splinter party.

If the opposition refuses to participate in the elections, it will be the first poll boycott in the country’s recent history.

 

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