Local elections and this year’s changed political landscape

Albanians will vote on June 30 for mayors and members of municipal councils.The Socialist Party is expected to face two opposition forces, PD and SMI in these elections, which are considered both a test of popularity as well as a test of the power of electoral machinery for parliamentary elections scheduled for 2021.

The Socialist Party won the elections of 2015 by capturing 30 separate mayoral positions plus four others through close allies, PDIU, MEGA and the Macedonian Alliance. DP won 15 municipalities, while SMI, at that time in the alliance with the SP, won 10 municipalities.

Regarding municipal councils, the left coalition of 2015 won the overwhelming majority, but the SP itself lost the majority after the split by the SMI in 2017. Since then, many LSI advisers have demonstrated readiness to support the Socialist Party in several important municipalities of the country, including Tirana, Durrës and Korça.

In the new history of Albania, ruling parties have great advantages in local government elections, mainly due to the high degree of concentration of power in the hands of the prime minister.

In the 2000 and 2003 local government elections, the socialist government of the time succeeded in winning the overwhelming majority of municipalities and municipalities, while in the 2007 and 2011 elections, the Democratic government also managed to win overwhelmingly the races for mayor and chiefs, those elections succeeded in winning some large municipalities like Durres, Elbasan and Fier.

This year’s political landscape seems to have changed much from that of 2015, not only as a result of the LSI’s exit to the opposition, but also because in the 2017 elections there were no pre-election coalitions. In the elections of 2015, the Alliance for Albania’s leftist coalition contained 37 Allied parties, while the right coalition, the People’s Alliance for Work and Dignity, had 15 member -parties.

A total of 63 parties participated in the 2015 race, and in 2017, only 18 parties managed to meet the conditions for presenting candidates. It is unclear whether in this year’s elections, the two big parties will choose to make coalitions with any party or follow the 2017 practice.

/Klara Ruci/

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