Shifting alliances, how have Albanian politicians cooperated with their sworn enemies

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Collaboration offers extended to political foes have not been a rare phenomenon after the fall of the Communist regime. As of 2009, political party leaders have shown that they are capable of governance even with those whom they’ve exchanged all sorts of accusations.

“Are you ready to collaborate with Basha? Yes, of course, but with one condition, if he shifts away from Berisha and Meta”, this was the so-called invitation made by PM Rama to DP’s leader Basha a few days ago.

But this is not the first time that Lulzim Basha receives such an invitation from the prime minister. Prior to the 2017 general polls, PM Rama and the leader of the opposition signed another agreement.

“It will be detailed in the upcoming 24 hours”, said Basha at the time.

“Allow me to agree 100% with the leader of the opposition”, Rama said to the media.

In 2017, after the involvement of the international community, an agreement was reached which not only brought the DP to participate in the elections but at the executive, too. This included interim ministers, including the deputy premier, who’d observe Edi Rama and preparations ahead of the elections that led to the government that is in force today.

Three years after, standing beside Monika Kryemadhi and on the opposition’s side, Basha referred to their previous cooperation as a “mistake” and guaranteed that it will not happen again”.

“I made a mistake, but I want to guarantee to all Albanians that it will never happen again”, declared Basha.

The days after April 25 will determine who will rule the country, and history has shown that hopping from one side to the other, is not a taboo in Albanian politics.

This was the case of left-wing Ilir Meta and the longtime leader of the Democrats Sali Berisha.

“It is absolutely in the best interest of the country, a solid government and a solid opposition”, said former PM Berisha at the time.

Ilir Meta, former leader of the Socialist Movement for Integration now serving as the president of the country, described the decision as “the hardest” in his lifetime, but accepted the offer for the seat of deputy prime minister, as well as some other important ministerial posts, in the Berisha government.

“Should I contribute in deepening the crisis or become a stabilizing factor”, explained Meta back then.

April 2013 brought other changes. Meta decided to return to the SP and cooperate for political rotation.

“Opening a new chapter with SMI in the history of our co-existence in the Albanian political scene”, declared Rama, while Meta announced that he had accepted the invitation of the leader of the Socialists.

Besides these deals, history has shown that after collaborations crumble, their attitudes shift from friendly to aggressive and contemptuous.

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