Albania's Democrats Meet To Ponder Election Disaster

Albania's opposition centre-right Democratic Party, PD, is mulling how to revive its fortunes and win over the voters, following its disastrous defeat in the parliamentary election in June. Internal rifts have since further undermined the party's unity.

The first meeting of party assembly on Thursday saw heateds debate that almost turned physical, as members argued over who, or what, was to blame for the poor result.

Audio recordings of the debates leaked to the media showed a split deeply party, and revealed hostility between those who support the leader, Lulzim Basha, and others who consider him most responsible for the defeat in the election.

Afrim Krasniqi, a professor of political sciences and director of the Albanian Institute for Political Studies, told BIRN that the party faces multiple crises.

"The PD is in a crisis of confidence ... while three months after the dramatic [election] result, they still haven't analysed it or reflected on it," he said.

Internal rifts in the party deepened after Basha failed to include important party figures in the party's list of would-be MPs for the June election.

In the election, its coalition not only failed to win back power from Edi Rama's Socialists but ended up with 14 fewer seats than in the previous election in 2013.

Immediately after, the party reconfirmed Basha as leader for another four years, but many in the party had asked for more reflection and analysis before doing so.

On Thursday, the party assembly finally decided to undertake an analysis of the loss of the election, as well change the party's statutes, making it more democratic.

Krasniqi said Basha was still running things with a strong hand, although he warned that this might do further damage in...

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