The quiet before the next storm: So glad they are “over”

The quiet before the next storm: So glad they are “over” 
 Tirana Times -

By Alba Çela 

The local elections had such a strong grip on everybody’s life in Albania that once done it feels like a heavy weight is lifted from our shoulders. For weeks the news, analysis, comments, predictions, estimates, controversial debates monopolized the plethora of televisions. I did not dare to switch on the television for fear that some wildly hypnotized politician would step out of the screen as in a horror movie. My favorite serial shows were substituted by non-stop talk shows examining in detail over and over again the minute features of every possible scenario and commenting on everything about the candidates from their personal record to their hair color. The closer we got to the elections the uglier the battle became. Personal photos of the Tirana mayor that should have never been published froze the attention of all age spans. Secret CIA reports were published that showed to the people how their minister was implicated in crime. Was this real? How are we to see these people after this battle? Will we forget everything that was shown under the wise mantra of our most populist politicians “Do not confuse truth with electoral truth”? 

Election Day was naturally the apex of this process. Reporters and analysts with heavy insomniatic eyes were glued once again to the screen wishing for every potential miracle to get them the results as fast a possible so that they could feed their own interpretation to the public. Dazzled by an eventual fear and the news that the ink was not working, Albanians waited in line to vote in front of slow-motion commissioners in order to cast their token of political freedom. A white night followed with confusing exit polls and marginal Cassandra voices predicting Apocalypse. Most of the people woke up in order to get started on a new work week. Hopefully free from the overwhelming posters that marked the landscape, free from the electoral noises and songs filling the streets, disrupting their thought process. The entire campaign seemed to be led in this direction: Look, listen, don’t think! Emblazoned with scandalous claims and respective accusations, devoid of substance of projects, of concrete plans, a campaign of militants for militants. Hence, aggressive like a grip in the throat. I am under no illusion that is over. Contestations of the results started even before February 18, 6pm, the official closing time of the ballots. The incidents that characterized that day, though not major, will be subject of debates and conflicts yet to come. The televisions will continue to reflect, highlight and eventually worsen every controversy. The newspapers will still fill their front pages with photos of the runners for weeks to come. Nevertheless, there is an air of liberation. The posters look defeated and out of place. They have finally lost the glorious importance of visual manipulation. The song that was blasted from all cars claiming back a lost city weeps in silence. Another storm is in the making. The SP leader has often mentioned the preparations for elections if the opposition wins the majority of the national vote this time. Albania has yet to agree on how it will elect the next President. A peaceful settlement like that of 2003 seems unlikely with the heightened tones of hostility between the two sides and the fragmentation of the opposition. The latter though in a coalition is under the perpetual threat of l’enfant terrible, Fatos Nano. 

But until then there is a temporal calm. Thus enjoy it before this one is over too. I for once am glad that the elections are over.