Rudina Hajdari – A Fresh Start

Rudina Hajdari is currently serving as a member of the Assembly of the Republic of Albania. She joined the Democrat Party in 2017 after her return from studying in the United States, where she moved in 1998 after the assassination of her father, Azem Hajdari, himself a member of the Assembly and a flag bearer for the student movement of the time. She attended Fordham University in NY and graduated with a bachelor degree in Political Science, followed by a Masters in Geopolitics, Territory and Security at King’s College London. She later pursued a second Masters at Columbia University. Following her studies she served as Staff Associate of then Congressman Eliot L. Engel of NY.

Rudina would leave her friends and life in the USA in 2017 to return to Albania and pursue her dream of helping her country come out of the dark political cloud it was currently under and help it embrace a new dawn, a new era led by young intellectuals; much like eras gone by of pre-communism days, where the movements which would propel Albania toward her biggest struggle of fighting communism were led by young intellectuals, educated individuals from all factions of Albanian life. Her dream was to help revive her father’s party, the Democrat Party and restore it to its former glory of the early days of democracy in Albania.

The years following her indoctrination into the Party must have shed new light on her vision that all was not as it seemed. The politics of 30 years within the party did not change much, as a matter of fact they worsened. The oligarchs in charge 30 years ago were still roaring loudly while the people still suffered; the infrastructure needed for the villages around the country suffered; jobs were scarce; the majority of Albanians want to emigrate and a large portion of them did, leaving behind the older generation to fend for themselves. Albania was on the brink.

Students in the country led a massive protest against the government for three months in 2018-2019, opposing high tuition rates in addition to the already high university fees, which failed to improve public education. During this protest the DP took it upon itself to make it political and after days of protests the head of the DP Luzlim Basha decided to burn his mandate and resign as head of the DP, a move which would be a turning point for the party. Rudina decided against burning her mandate, but rather stay in the assembly along with a handful of other members and continue the fight from within.

She has ever since been a voice for change and decided to start a new party NISMA THURJE, break free from the old and forge ahead with the new. A list of young, energetic, educated individuals from all regions of the country.

Her platform is straightforward.

  • Nationalization of natural resources.
  • Revitalizing the economy.
  • Empowerment of the people.
  • Decentralization of power by strengthening of check-and-balance mechanisms and empowering constitutional control.
  • Democratization of political parties
  • Guaranteeing free and fair elections.
  • Reviving the jury duty tradition.
  • Uniting the Albanian people

Ms. Hajdari has been consistent if nothing else. She has not wavered from her resolution. Yes, she’s younger, but so were all the current leaders of other parties when they began their political career. Yes, she might come from a family whose family members are often criticized in the media, but so are all other politicians and to a much larger extent. She’s trying to turn a new page in Albania’s future by including everyone and excluding corrupted individuals. She’s not beholden to anyone. Yes, if she wins a few seats in the Assembly she will have no choice but to ally herself to the DP, but she will have a stronger voice and she will have to be reckoned with. Everyone has to start somewhere, and maintaining the status quo with the current individuals who have been running the country for the last 30 years is not the solution I am willing to bet on.

Having said all that, I would like to see as part of her platform a reference to the issue of: private property, compensation for the persecuted and reconciliation for crimes committed during communism.

I believe the resolution of these three issues are detrimental to any society which wants to move forward in a healthy manner. You cannot create a strong, healthy society without first reconciling your past. You cannot move forward when a large portion of your society is still reeling from the effects of their suffering under communism, as are their families. You cannot justify democracy when a large portion of your citizens have been deprived of their land and are still waiting for restitution 30 years later. You cannot speak about humanity when the past has yet to be reckoned with.

By not addressing these issues the party is disenfranchising a large portion of people who suffered under communism. Even though this might be seen as an ‘old’ issue, it is still very much relevant, it is still very much current. These individuals are still here now and unless it’s address and someone speaks out for them with honesty, vulnerability, sensitivity, it’s never going to be resolved.

The current government has basically forgotten about them. Their compensation is trickling in every 8-10 years. They are still waiting for their property to be restituted. They are still waiting for an acknowledgment and apology for their suffering during 50 years of communist atrocities. Every election period they promise this and that but nothing ever materializes. Nothing changes.

Your party has the potential to be a strong force in Parliament, more vocal, more energized and if these issues were included it will most likely get further traction and votes, it certainly wouldn’t be detrimental.

It could be a good opportunity for people to see that even though most of the candidates are younger, they have not forgotten their country’s history and the generation before, which is still very much alive and suffering.

I believe if these issues were added to the platform it would complete it, it would come full circle, as it will show that the party truly is including everyone.

Bianca Gjomarkaj

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