Like today 25 years ago, the elections of May 26 took place, which have gone down in history as the most manipulated, most stolen and most robbed elections in the history of Albania.
At the same time, the elections of May 26, 1996 marked the rise in the system of vote robbery through the heavy machinery of the state consisting of SHIK, police and paramilitary forces.
Sali Berisha has been the architect of this scheme of vote robbery through the state, “injecting” in the lithophytic system of Albanian politics the unbridled desire to manipulate the vote, which continues to this day through other refined and sophisticated forms.
But May 26 was exactly the beginning of all the evil with the elections in Albania and neither Berisha nor his supporters can stand “out of this” unprecedented masquerade in the country.
But was May 26 the day when the anti-state broke out against the free vote of the Albanians, who for 45 years had gone to the polls to vote for the party with song and dance?
The first symptoms were given in the local elections of 1992, when the Socialists ousted from power on March 22, 1992, only three months later managed to overturn the result and win the local elections.
The result of these elections was never officially announced, except for the entry into office of the new mayors, while their leader Fatos Nano would enter prison at the hands of Sali Berisha himself, a year later. With absurd political accusations, which was later proven.
Sali Berisha took the first “test” in the November 1994 referendum, which he lost.
In the second pre-election test with the by-elections in Libofsha in 1995, Berisha tried the scenario he would later implement on May 26, 1996, by raping opposition representatives and stealing votes.
Sali Berisha would win the May 26 elections, narrowly but he would win them. Sure!
The establishment of fraudulent pyramid schemes, where Albanians at that time were in their “habitat”, “earn without working, put in a penny and get two” in fraudulent firms, had done its thing. No one easily gave up this “paradise” of capitalism that was promoting Sali Berisha day after day. Even using the names of these firms in advertising spots and banner meetings. In addition to the money that flowed to win “democracy and liberal economy.”
But Sali Berisha wanted a big, plebiscite victory, with 2/3 of the Assembly, to guarantee a second Presidential term.
He started it by dropping the election commissions, raping and intimidating the then opposition in advance, which even without these was severely raped, as he had the mayor Fatos Nano in the high security prison in Bënçë convicted on political charges. And with the help of the SP leadership itself.
May 26 election day has been a frightening, sad day with military and paramilitary, police and SHIK Gazidede troops working only in the service of voting for the DP and against the opposition.
At 11.00 most of the SP commissioners were outside the polling stations, due to “problems they brought to the commission”.
This was the reason for their forcible eviction from the polling stations by the security forces, in uniform or not. As soon as they opposed the voting several times, in the name of the neighborhood for everyone, they were forcibly taken out of the polling station, and even kicked, accompanied by police stations, which at that time were full of opponents of the regime.
The ballot box stuffing continued at full capacity, and there was even a contest over who would get the most votes in favor of the DP candidates.
Candidates of the opposition forces left their areas and returned to Tirana, to save their heads.
On the afternoon of May 26, at the insistence of Kastriot Islami, at the headquarters of the Democratic Alliance of Neritan Ceka at the entrance of “Myslym Shyri” street, opposition leaders gathered and decided to withdraw from the elections.
The rest had no history. In Cërrik and Kuçovë, the result exceeded all limits, reaching 120 percent for the PD candidate. The ballot papers of the PD candidate Roza Pati, prepared in boxes before, instead of going to Lezha, were confused with the other candidate Ylli Vejsiu in Allias in Tirana. Allias’s box went to Lezha with the name of Vejsiu, while of Lezha to Tirana with the name of Pat. The massacre did not stop, the situation got out of control and the SP “left” only 10 deputies.
The election was not recognized by US, EU, OSCE-ODIHR observers. Even by right-wing representatives, mentioning here the former head of the PR, the late Sabri Godo and the former head of the National Front, the late Abaz Ermenji.
The latter was injected with medicine and stayed asleep for four days in the rented apartment on Kavaja Street, only to miss a right-wing voice against the May 26 elections.
We brought back to mind this scheme of stealing votes for all the “lovers” of free and fair elections, to show that everything in the elections of April 25 was very, very different, like night and day!
The opposition at that time did not recognize the elections, went on a hunger strike in the respective headquarters of the parties and on May 28 planned to hold a protest in “Skanderbeg” square. But this square had the “owner” in time, it was Sali Berisha and did not allow any gathering except the DP in this area.
Being an eyewitness at the time, the view around the PS, PSD and PAD headquarters was in the form of a horror. Troops of the police, army and Guard, but also of Gazidede SHIK and paramilitaries were placed in a fighting position. As if there was a war.
With much effort, the opposition touched the square for a few seconds, but not only Albanians but the whole world saw its violence and bloodshed. It was no sadder sight than to see Servet Pëllumbi, the number two of the SP bloodied in the square, Skënder Gjinushi, Neritan Ceka, Arben Imami, Namik Doklen, Pandeli Majkon, Ndre Legisi, Erjon Braçen raped, maimed and severely bloodied. On election day and in the May 28 protest.
Serious images occupied the world media, while Arben Imami was in police dungeons with broken teeth, Blendi Gonxhe was raped and dragged.
One might say why not mention other important names. The truth is that I can not say under any circumstances that the former deputy chairman of the Socialist Party, Ilir Meta, was raped. Neither touched him with his hand, nor was he seen in public. Only Sali Berisha and Ilir Meta, including Gazidede, know the reason.
And that a month before the elections of April 25, 2021, it was exactly Ilir Meta who “sharpened” the razors, forks and other circumstantial means to protect the vote with blood. Even warning that he will give his life and the life of the child!
These were horrible scenes, the frame of which was “supplemented” with the abduction, rape and throwing at the Artificial Lake of the journalist of “Dita Informacion”, Bardhok Lala.
He was thrown to death there after being raped by police, SHIK, militant civilians and who had expressed his desire to blow the whistle on the opposition and the media.
Almost all journalists were raped, including a Spanish journalist, a picture that served to make the rounds of the world and other occasions.
This recollection of May 26 and 28, 1996 is for all those “lovers” of media freedom, who worry about why Prime Minister Edi Rama sees a journalist gloomy, and even pushes another who has no mask while mandatory, does not answer any questions, calls “boiler” for analysts. He even debates with someone, “shaking” the freedom of the media!
At that time he was playing with the life and not with the humor or mimicry of the political leader.
We returned to that time not only with the obligation that today marks 25 years since the 26th of May of the electoral massacre of Berisha, but also because we have on the street an opposition that accuses the government of stealing votes and asks the state institutions to find evidence as it does not have them.
We came back to you today, May 26, because we have journalists who do not move from their chairs to find news, but are angry about why an official or a politician does not send them by e-mail, possibly ready. They call this case a violation of media freedom!
We did not go into much detail, as not only the cases of violence were given and given for many years, but also year after year, until the editorial office was burnt down like that of the newspaper “Koha Jonë” or raped by journalists, taking them out of the flow of life as in the case of Zamir Dule.(M.Nikaj-TemA)