DP Ends First Selection Phase of Candidates for 2021 Parliamentary Elections

TIRANA - The opposition Democratic Party (DP) has concluded the first vetting phase of the candidates for the next year parliamentary elections picking up 946 candidates out of a total number of 3,648 appliers who aspired to run for a seat in the 140-member Parliament.
This has been announced by one of the members of the DP Evaluation Commission, Besnik Mustafaj, who said on Thursday that this selected group will be a source of DP to the govern the country.
A form for such a vetting process was also sent to Jozefina Topalli, a well known politician of DP since its foundation and former Speaker of Parliament when DP was in power. But she refused the request which was criticized by Mustafaj, a former Foreign Minister, dismissed by the veteran leader Sali Berisha some years ago from the post.
Mustafaj boycotted the DP structures for many years but apparently changed his mind after the appeal of DP’s head Lulzim Basha to mobilize the ‘old guard’ of the first opposition political force created in Albania following the fall of communism.
During the time that he stayed away from DP leadership, Mustafaj was critical of Basha regarding the way he was leading the party.
But in the new capacity close to chairman Basha the former senior diplomat lashed out at Mrs. Topalli blaming her for calling DP's selection process of the candidates for the new parliament as a farce.
"If Jozefina calls the process a farce, I feel insulted. Many of those angry with Basha have received the form. Pretexts should not be used to avoid becoming part of politics, including Topalli. We did not take care of Basha's comfort. We have taken care to return value to the DP," said Mustafaj.
In her comment on the rejection of the DP leadership, the former Speaker, Topalli who was Deputy Chairman and very close to Sali Berisha, considered the selection process a trick of Lulzim Basha to throw ashes on the face of party membership.
"Forms are an insult to any democrat and the commission is a trick of Lulzim Basha to throw ashes on face of party members. I do not believe that a political force is democratized through forms. The crisis has its roots precisely in the hostage-taking of political forces. Therefore, the battle must begin there. The parties must be liberated from losers. A new leadership with uncorrupted people would bring hope to the country. I wish the young people to unite to start the change," she said.

DP is in coalition with Socialist Movement for Integration and some other tiny right wing parties under the umbrella of the ‘United Opposition’ which have abandoned parliament, but the steps taken at this stage show that its leadership has changed mind regarding boycott eyeing an eventual return to power in the new parliamentary elections expected to be held in late spring in 2021. According to Mustafaj, there are among the selected candidates some figures who have not been part of any political force./argumentum.al