US embassy cable - 06TIRANA628

SOCIALIST PARTY CONGRESS: RAMA'S REFORMS AND LEFT-WING UNITY

Identifier: 06TIRANA628
Wikileaks: View 06TIRANA628 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Tirana
Created: 2006-06-12 13:12:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PGOV AL
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTI #0628/01 1631312
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 121312Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY TIRANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4414
INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 2929
RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 2726
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1139
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1198
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1089
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 5296
RUEHVJ/AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO 0443
RUEHSQ/AMEMBASSY SKOPJE 4122
RUEHVB/AMEMBASSY ZAGREB 2948
RUFNPKB/COMUSNAVEUR NAPLES IT
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHPS/USOFFICE PRISTINA 3430
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 2166
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
C O N F I D E N T I A L TIRANA 000628 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/SCE (BENEDICT, SAINZ) 
NSC FOR BRAUN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/11/2016 
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, AL 
SUBJECT: SOCIALIST PARTY CONGRESS: RAMA'S REFORMS AND 
LEFT-WING UNITY 
 
Classified By: CDA STEVEN ZATE.  REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1.  (SBU)  Albania's Socialist Party (SP) held its first 
Congress since its bitter defeat last July in Parliamentary 
elections and the ascendancy of Tirana Mayor Edi Rama to the 
Chairmanship of the party last fall.  Former Chairman, and 
fallen PM, Fatos Nano, was nowhere to be seen and his 
supporters lay low for the most part.  The party passed a 
number of reforms -- most notably enshrinement of the one 
member-one vote principle to elect Chairmen, and a bold 
initiative to place more women in elected positions -- but 
the highlight was a strong show of left-wing unity in hopeful 
anticipation of local elections early next year.  SP prodigal 
son (and now LSI Chairman) Ilir Meta was welcomed with cheers 
when introduced by Rama -- an event unthinkable a year ago. 
End summary. 
 
2.  (U)  On June 10, the Socialist Party (SP) held its 
Congress in Tirana. About 500 delegates from all over Albania 
participated. Special invitees included the leaders of the 
small left-wing parties, all of  which have recently 
concluded cooperation agreements with the SP.  These parties 
were represented by their Chairmen -- Ilir Meta, Socialist 
Movement for Integration (LSI); Skender Gjinushi, 
Social-Democratic Party (PSD); Neritan Ceka, Democratic 
Alliance (PAD); and Paskal Milo, Social Democracy Party 
(PDS).  Guest of honor for the event was Chairman of the 
International Socialist and Greek party PASOK leader George 
Papandreou.  Other visitors included Hashim Thaci, Chairman 
of Kosovo,s Democratic Party; a representative of the 
Alliance for Kosovo,s Future (Rramush Haradinaj,s party). 
The participants were shown video-taped greeting messages 
from other international left-wing representatives, such as 
the General Secretary of the Italian Democratic Socialist 
Party, Piero Fassino and the President of the European 
Socialist Party, Paul Nyurup Rasmussen. 
 
3.  (U)  Fatos Nano, former chairman of the SP, was absent. 
Nano's visible supporters -- a small group of participants -- 
tried a few times to chant his name, but were countered by 
others exclaiming Rama's name, causing the Nano supporters to 
progressively scale back their efforts. 
 
4.  (U)  SP General Secretary Pandeli Majko opened the 
conference, speaking about upcoming victory in the local 
elections. He referred to an all inclusive policy in the 
party, saying that the party needed everybody, including 
old-guard figures like Nano, Servet Pellumbi, Namik Dokle, 
and former President Rexhep Mejdani. 
 
5.  (U)  SP Chairman Edi Rama spoke of the SP's defeat last 
July, saying that that the SP received the "slap that it 
deserved." He added, "Let anyone who thinks differently leave 
right now, because then we will not condone, while pretending 
not to see or hear, the moral damage he will have done to our 
party."  On upcoming local elections, Rama said the SP did 
not have time to loose, but should move forward. 
 
6.  (SBU)  Rama mentioned corruption, but he referred only to 
petty communal or municipal elected officials, thus avoiding 
any issue of high-level corruption within the SP.  However, 
referring to past SP mistakes (including political divisions 
that resulted in fractioning and the creation of the LSI), 
Rama said: "The SP cannot, must not, and will not lose an 
election for the motives that brought it into the opposition. 
We will win precisely because we will show in words and 
deeds, everyday, that we have inherited from our past only 
our undeniable virtues and achievements." 
 
7.  (U)  Rama attacked PM Berisha, asking for "our old prime 
minister to be sent home, without allowing him to completely 
lose his wits while in office." 
 
8.  (U)  Rama talked at length about the unity that the 
left-wing parties claim to have just regained and about the 
potential it represents.  Referring to the SP's already 
declared intention to seek early general elections next year, 
Rama said, "it is up to us to carry out the change of 
powers..."  As proof of the unity, Rama gave a special 
greeting to LSI chair Ilir Meta, as well as to other three 
small parties, the chairmen of which joined him on stage at 
the end of his speech. 
 
9.  (U)  Chairman of the International Socialist and of the 
Greek opposition party PASOK, George Papandreou, spoke as the 
guest of honor and asserted that Albania's Greek minority was 
a bridge for the development of the relations between the two 
countries.  Papandreou offered strong support for "his 
friend" Edi Rama. 
 
10.  (C)  In the afternoon session, reserved only for 
delegates, the Congress approved changes proposed to its 
Statute by a vote of 456 votes in favor and only 11 against. 
Some QP luminarieq, sqspected of  being Nano supporters, $ad 
nOtavan 6o4e  e.g., Petro Koci, Ilir Zela, Qen @lushi, IAqOQQQakrori, etc.). 
Koci told t(a e%dha adDersApDsp(a4 this 
was the first Congra2s g(epe fodE`apE 4g/a place.  The new 
Statute 2a.c4a,fdd DhE NhBiQ !`$ regulations for punishing QPQQQ,e,b$b0Q EpTaQhQqQ`$ the one member-one vote pQa.c(` ` b,BQQQEhEaQ)b aParty Chairman, decreased 4`$  c$ ,AQAp(BQQa`Qpship to 16 years; establiQ`$`a a4a4AC`0  Q`Q`Q for 
women participation`Q a0`8QGQAhC(Q 0 percent in the 
electoral Q`Q`Q``$A@QCPQ Q pources from the SP claimeQQQ Q Q@Q@@QQQ0  liberalization of the par0y, others saw 
the changes as a means for Rama toconsolidate his 245-day 
old chairmanship of the 0arty. 
 
11.  (C)  COMMENT:  Internal dissent within the SP seems to 
have scaled back in the last tw months as Rama has pursued 
reconciliation agreeQents with Meta's LSI and the other small 
party allies.  In doing so, Rama has brought everyone's focus 
on the upcoming local elections -- now scheduled for late 
2006 or early 2007 -- and, given the short time frame, 
underscored the need for internal party unity in advance of 
those elections.  The Opposition clearly hopes that a strong 
showing in those elections, combined with a subsequent 
Parliamentary deadlock over selection of a new president in 
the summer of 2007, will set the stage for early 
Parliamentary elections and their possible return to power as 
soon as next year. 
ZATE 

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