With Kosovo having held elections in 2021, a neighboring country was awaiting new parliamentary elections this year. That country is Albania. For 4 years, the Republic of Albania had Edi Rama as a prime minister and the Socialist Party as the majority. This year the Socialist Party ran in the elections again with Edi Rama as its head and looking to remain in his Prime Minister post. How did the Socialist Party do this year? Is the opposition winning? Will Edi Rama remain Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania?
On the 25th of April 2021, Albania held elections since the Socialist Party had now been in charge for four years, with Edi Rama as a Prime Minister and the President being Ilir Meta. The elections were held with no complications and with European standards. 5,199 polling stations were officially opened on Sunday at 7 am for Albania’s parliamentary elections with 3,588,869 voters who were registered. Unfortunately, the Albanian diaspora, which accounts for around 1.8 million Albanians, could not vote due to the failure of adopting the necessary legislation. Also, due to the Covid-19 situation, the Prime Minister asked those who have symptoms or have tested positive with Covid-19 to not go out and vote.
Although the voting process was held very peacefully and with high standards, it was not the same during the campaign held by numerous parties. On Wednesday, 21st of April, 1 person was killed and four others were injured in Elbasan. This all happened due to a clash between supporters and officials of the Socialist Party and the bodyguards of a politician from the Democratic Party. Prime Minister Edi Rama stated that the people should be calm and patient and that the upcoming elections will unite the Albanian people.
A total of 140 members of the parliament are voted based on 12 different counties of the Republic of Albania by open list using proportional representation. This year a total of 46 parties ran, including 5 new parties. Citizens had the choice to vote between 12 electoral subjects, of which 3 were a coalition between parties. The biggest opposition party in Albania, Partia Demokratike, formed a coalition with Aleanca per Ndryshim by joining their forces with 12 other minor parties. Also, Levizja Socialiste per Integrim formed a coalition with Shqiperia-Shtepia Fituese, while the governing party, Partia Socialiste ran alone determined that they will win the elections.
The first thoughts of who will win Sunday’s elections started to roll in and the exit polls show is a very close call. Many different newspapers and channels started making their exit polls based on numerous factors about who is going to win these elections. For example, Top Channel TV’s exit poll, showed that the Socialist Party led by Edi Rama was gonna triumph just slightly, winning 46.9% of the votes, which means that they would have 71 seats in the parliament. The Democratic Party led by Lulzim Basha is expected to win 43.5% of the votes and a smaller opposition party, the Socialist Integration Movement is thought to come third with 6.9%. Although none of these are the official results, Ilirjan Celibashi, head of the Central Election Commission stated that the winner would be determined in 48 hours.
The Prime Minister of Kosovo also voted in these elections, who has an Albanian passport prior to a Kosovar passport. He called upon Albanians in Albania and Kosovo to vote if they also have an Albanian passport. This was seen as quite a controversial move by many, especially the representative of Kosovo to the EU, Viola Von Cramon, who stated that it was not acceptable for a Prime Minister to vote in a neighboring state. The opposition parties of Kosovo were also quick to act with accusations towards Prime Minister Kurti.
Nevertheless, we are all waiting to see who the winner of these elections will be since the exit polls show that the result will be very tight between the Socialist Party and the Democratic party. Both Edi Rama and Lulzim Basha made bold statements for Albania’s future and we hope that no matter who wins, those promises will be carried out. Kosovo is also always looking forward to working with Albania for the greater cause of Albanians not only in Albania and Kosovo but also around the world.