Albania: PD Organizes 'Incidents' to Undermine 29 Jun Election

by way of Carlos Moreno (heiko@easynet.co.uk)
Wed, 25 Jun 1997 15:06:36 -0500


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World News Review 24-6-97 ******************************************************

Albania: PD Organizes 'Incidents' to Undermine 29 Jun Election

Tirana Koha Jone in Albanian 20 June 97 p 1 Commentary by Gavrosh Levonja: "PD: 'The South, Unacceptable'"

Now when there are only 10 days to go before the 29 June elections and all hypothesis of postponing them have been dropped, the Democratic Party [PD] has greatly intensified its campaign against the south. The hub of this "antisouth" campaign contains, as usual, charges like insecurity, the committees, the armed gangs, the attacks and pressure against the PD, the great shortcomings in the election preparations, etc. The common thread in all these accusations is to prepare the public and create the impression that elections in the south will not be regular. Irrespective of the many anomalies which are not characteristic of the south alone, foreign observers and some Central Voting Commission [KQZ] member, who has become acquainted with the situation in the south, have come to the conclusion that preparations for elections in this part of the country, compared to the other zones, do not fall short of what may be expected under the circumstances. A PD candidate in Gjirokaster expressed his opinion in more or less positive tones about the possibility of calling almost normal elections there. Regarding the committees, they have not been an obstacle to preparations for elections. On the contrary they have contributed to helping the local authorities in several cases. It has become a fact of life now for each and everyone that the Public Salvation Committees have nothing in common with armed gangs, which commit violent acts and plunder the citizens. It is likewise a fact that various incidents, threats, pressure, and other forms of harassment have not been missing recently against politicians in the course of this election campaign. These acts however have not been spearheaded only against the PD leaders and have not taken place only in the south. For example, none of the incidents, with Berisha as the main protagonist, have taken place in Vlore, Tepelene, or Gjirokaster. They have occurred in the part of Albania that Berisha claims loves him. With the exception of Berisha, the other PD leaders have been conducting their election campaigns in all the other "hot zones" of the south, with the exception of Vlore. Some careless PD leader's statement is exposing their propaganda against the south. Following Pjeter Arbnori's [speaker of parliament] guarantees and Berisha's promises at his recent meetings with foreigners that "the PD will recognize the elections results, no matter what," some top PD leaders have begun to issue declarations that they might not recognize the results of the election in the south, which is foreseen to be a total failure for the PD. Such a thing may be inferred also by the hasty action of some well-known PD leaders to remove their candidacies from the south and put them in other zones. Aware of such a loss, their best justification would be to claim that the situation the south is not normal. In this way, the PD would present the real ratio of forces in elections in the other parts of the country. All these things are likely to make one think that in some cases the "incidents" that take place in the south may have been connived in some PD offices to undermine the 29 June elections.

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