Zëri i Popullit, 1992

Newspaper of the Albanian Party of Labor

Summary of Key Articles – curated and translated by Prof. Artan Puto

7 January, page 3, has an article by Nasi Mitrojorgji entitled “Freedom of Thought and the Risks of Its Degradation.” The author expresses concern about abuses with freedom of thought and the resultant social problems.

11 January, front page, has an interview with Ismail Kadare in which he considers national reconciliation an important step for the unification of Albanians.

13 February, front page, has a statement by President Alia on the elections planned for 22 March.

14 February, pages 1 and 3, have an article entitled “Don’t Play with Albania Anymore!” accusing head of the Albanian service of Voice of America, Elez Biberaj, of being a partial political analyst who supports Sali Berisha. Those pages also have the speech of Servet Pellumbi, vice head of the SP, who argues in favor of the party for the upcoming elections.

15 February, front page, has a short statement from the president’s spokesperson that Mother Theresa has been granted Albanian citizenship. Pages 1 and 3 have an interview with Namik Dokle, ex-chairman of the Socialist Party parliamentary group, who reflects on the role of the SP during the first year of pluralism.

16 February, front page, has an article by Hamdi Jupe entitled “The Opposition Troika United for the Elections of 22 March.” He writes about the coalition of the opposition parties – Republicans, Social Democrats and Democrats – calling it a sign of weakness in the face of the SP.

16 February, page 4, has a long interview with two top SP officials, Spiro Dede and Shaqir Vukaj, who participated in the first congress of the Party for Democratic Prosperity in Macedonia (Partia për prosperitet demokratik, PPD). The headline for the interview is “The Fate of Albanians in the Hands of Albanians.”

20 February, front page, has a statement from the Socialist Party spokesman who criticizes the position of Kosovars Bujar Bukoshi, Ibrahim Rugova and Adem Demaçi who said that Albanians should vote for the DP.

23 February, front page, has a statement by the SP Steering Committee protesting what it called “the terror against the Socialist electorate and pressure to vote for the opposition.”

26 February, almost the whole paper, has the electoral program of SP. The front page also has a press release from the office of the president about allegations on Albanian TV about a possible transfer of large amounts of gold reserves from the Albanian national bank to Swiss banks in late 1990 and early 1991. Page 4 has an article entitled “The Yellow Check” also dealing with the issue of the Albanian gold.

28 February, page 3, has an article by Kastriot Islami entitled “New Democracies and the Necessity for Good Understanding.” He argues that Albania needs a kind of democracy defined by “good understanding” as opposed to dominance by the majority.

29 February, front page, has an article by Sedat Braja with the title “Let’s Try with the PD Now,” in which he claims that the electorate wants to give its vote to the DP only because they want a new political force after 46 years of PLA rule.

1 March, page 2, has an article by Agim Muçaj with the title “To Whom Belongs the Land,” which analyzes the DP’s electoral program with regards to property. The DP wants to take land from peasants and give it to ex-landowners, the article says.

3 March, page 3, has an article with the title “Forced Justification of an Unfounded Statement,” which replies to a recent statement by the Forum for Human Rights about the parliament’s decision not to allow minority parties.

5 March, front page, has an article by Perparim Xhixha entitled “Decisive Days,” in which he links the DP with chaos and anarchy and the SP with stability and rule of law.

6 March, front page, has an article about the Socialist Party program before elections: “The victory of the Socialist Party will open the way for the social market economy, invigorated production and private initiative, fruitful co-operation with foreign partners, and victory of work against anarchy. Its program of contemporary democratic socialism will open prospects for the achievement of European standards.” Page 2 has an article written by “Hasan Hoxha” entitled “Thoughts in Favor of Self and Family” with the sub-headline: “The Return to the Old Land Borders Is an Unchanged DP policy… Vote for the Socialist Party as You Vote for your Land.” (Note: the argument is that the Socialist Party will defend peasants from a DP policy that aims to give their land to former landowners.)

6 March, page 3, has an article by Agron Gani entitled “Is the DP a Party of the Masses.” The article argues that the DP is not the party of the under-privileged as it claims.

8 March, front page, lists the candidates of the Socialist Party for the March elections.

10 March, pages 1 and 4, have an article by Luan Rama entitled “Anarchy – The Threshold of Dictatorship.” The author suggests that the DP supports the chaos and anarchy that erupted on the eve of the elections. A long sub-headline says: “Democracy is in danger. The shadow of fascism is walking the streets. The Albanian people do not deserve a rightist dictatorship, which some pseudo-democrats are presenting as democracy… Voting for the Socialist Party, for its electoral program, you vote for the unprivileged majority; Vote for the worker, the peasant, the student, the intellectuals….”

13 March, page 3, has an article entitled “Why the Opposition Should Not Win” by Beqir Skreli, who gives seven reasons why the opposition presents danger for the country.

17 March, front page, has an appeal of Zëri i Popullit warning of possible DP manipulation during the elections with the support of the American embassy.

19 March, pages 3-4, have an article by Mumtaz Shehu entitled “The Intellectual Elite of the Old Regime Now to Serve the Right-Wing Opposition.” The article is the reply to a manifesto signed by some intellectuals on the eve of the elections inviting people to vote for the DP.

20 March, front page, has a campaign speech by Fatos Nano on the eve of the elections. The front page also has two statements by the president, one dealing with the issue of Albanian gold transferred to Swiss banks and one on the elections.

22 March, front page, has an article about the murder in Shkoder of an SP member named Xhemal Selimi, which the SP calls a political killing.

24 March, front page, has an article with the long headline: “The People Gave Their Verdict: DP Before a Historical Test to Fulfill Those Hopes and Promises That Gave it Victory. SP in Opposition: an Organized and Constructive Political Force, a Guarantee for Pluralism and True Democracy, a Defender of National Ideals and Human Rights.” An editorial entitled “The Victory of Democracy” explains the reasons for the Socialist Party’s loss and its new position in the opposition.

24 March, page 3, has an article entitled “The Elections of 22 March Have Taken Place Under Psychological Terror and Violations of the Electoral Law.” This covers a protest that the Steering Committee of the Socialist Party sent to the Electoral Central Commission.

25 March, page 2, has article by Hamdi Jupe entitled “The Challenge of Pluralism or Albanian Paradoxes.” The author sees a danger of authoritarianism in the overwhelming DP victory.

26 March, pages 1 and 3, have coverage of Fatos Nano’s press conference after the elections.

27 March, pages 1-2, have the speech of Servet Pellumbi, deputy head of the Socialist Party, with the title “Socialist Party in Opposition: Visions, Ideas and Problems,” in which he addresses what happened in the elections from a historical perspective.

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About Fred Abrahams

Author of Modern Albania: From Dictatorship to Democracy (NYU Press, 2015)

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