The need for a deep reform of the Democratic League of Kosovo

By Mero Baze

The Democratic League of Kosovo, the party which laid the foundations of Kosovo since 1989 feels now destroyed. In the recent elections, they reached the lowest historic results and risks a complete disappearance from the country’s political scene. The resignation of its leader, Isa Mustafa on the other hand is a mere formality as he does not have any choice left. On the following days we might hear about personal attacks, debates and calls for political lynching, but they have nothing to do with DLK’s future. The party needs to completely re-imagine itself.

Firstly, they should not repeat the mistake of the Democratic Party of Albania in 2013. After losing that year’s elections, they rushed to appoint Lulzim Basha as their leader since Sali Berisha needed a puppet as the head of the party. Since that time, the Democratic Party has not won any elections and furthermore, we have an opposition leader that celebrates when Albin Kurti succeeds in Kosovo since he believes that any opposition leader should win no matter what.

Such a solution would result in a catastrophe for the DLK. They should not rush to appoint as their leader an individual that is only supported by Isa Mustafa, nor should they choose one of his opponents. Any leader coming from inner struggles does not unite the party, nor does it help to rise up following their recent failure.

Secondly, the DLK should stop using their former leader, Rugova’s political theory as a magical solution for all their problems. Ibrahim Rugova’s political theory is his moral authority. One that held the party united despite the lack of inner democracy or rules. His theory was DLK’s defence and not their solution. However, that is a political theory that ended with Ibrahim Rugova and the former leader cannot help his party from beyond his grave. The Democratic League of Kosovo needs a new political theory that can replace Rugova’s moral authority with rules and trust, which will bring their support base closer together.

Thirdly, and most importantly, the Democratic League of Kosovo should consider the call of a Convention that would relay its foundations. It has happened with many major right wing European Parties.

Re-founding of a political party is a major act of reconciliation with past mistakes and can bring together into a new competition all those who abandoned the party in the last thirty years. They will have the opportunity to return in their political home to place new rules and launch a new history. Such a political act, does however need encouraging as well as a core of new individuals, without past complexes. Only through a humble spirit and self-criticism, they will be able to convey the same spirit to the society. On the other hand, an arrogant party that does not accept its mistakes cannot convince the society to change its stance towards them.

The Democratic League of Kosovo should take the process of re-founding itself very seriously and only after that should they be able to appoint a new leader. Until then, the party can be led by a core of new and consensual individuals, tasked to re-organize the party as well as bring a new political spirit through which the DLK can come back to life.

Any attempt for a quick makeover on the other hand will not produce any change. The DLK must reform itself by convincing the society about it. Otherwise, they do not have a future ahead of them. The illusion that a new name will be able to bring the party back in shape will remain only an illusion as long as they do not touch on the heart of the issue. There can never come a new leader from the body of a dead political party.

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