Elections without a program for the environment, the parties did not present anything concrete for Vjosa

The election campaign for the April 25, 2021 parliamentary elections raised expectations that with the right pressure from environmentalists, organizations and nature lovers, politics would make concrete commitments to prioritize environmental policies.

EcoAlbania and various organizations encouraged with campaigns on social networks and debates on TV shows that politicians publicly declare their positions regarding the issue of the Vjosa River and the projects planned on it. But not all parties acted openly.

In the televised debates, the Socialist Party (SP) was mainly based on previous decisions for Vjosa, where the decision to declare a “Natural Park” was mentioned as a “pro” environmental argument. However, the discussion about including a stronger degree of protection of the entire length of the river was overlooked. In the same way, the position regarding projects such as the airport of Akërnia and the tourist resorts near the “Protected Landscape of Vjosë-Nartë” was overlooked.

The chairman of the Democratic Party (PD), Lulzim Basha, promised (in Albanian) during an electoral visit to Tepelena that he “will protect Vjosa” and that the residents of the area should entrust him with the governance of the country for this purpose. However, in his statements there was nothing concrete in terms of the way of protection, or the approach he would have in terms of the approved projects in the lower part of Vjosa.

Journalist Ola Miter stated for “Gazeta Shqiptare” (in Albanian) that PS did not have any document or interface for its governing program on its official website. On the contrary, PD, which had conveyed general information about its program on the “Shqipëriafiton.al” website, had not included anything regarding the environment.

In fact, no party in the June 25 elections predicted a clear program in terms of the environment.

In general, the parties either did not present a program, or in other cases when they presented one, they did not foresee concrete things.

The Agrarian Environmentalist Party (PAA) – in coalition with the PD – had two main points in its program: “clean environment” and “increasing the contribution of the green economy”. PAA was committed to developing a national environmental strategy and promoting policies and projects to protect natural resources.

“Nisma Thurje”, which came out alone in the parliamentary elections, had as its program the so-called “33 draft laws”, a platform that, apart from the way natural resources should be used, did not foresee anything for the environment as a whole.