Refusing to debate with political rivals is wicked and arrogant. It is uncultured and irresponsible towards the citizens. Arrogance is punished. For real.
When the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, formed a pre-electoral coalition with Ramush Haradinaj’s Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, and Fatmir Limaj’s Initiative for Kosovo, NISMA–collectively called PAN–its leadership might have thought that victory was in the bag and the ten-day long campaign prior to the elections would much rather serve as a fashion runway than as an arena to confront ideas and arguments with rivals.
Their conviction in numbers based on the results of the 2014 general elections, increased their sense of comfort. Maybe they thought that they could have won the elections “without lifting a finger,” as Isa Mustafa, who lost the last local elections in Prishtina, used to say when he ran against Shpend Ahmeti in the capital. But, their calculations were wrong.
Firstly, the PM candidate nominated by PAN refused to come face-to-face and debate with his rivals from the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, and Vetevendosje, Avdullah Hoti and Albin Kurti, respectively. Haradinaj considered them unworthy of debate. A very arrogant and unserious approach.
But, this unfortunately was not the end of it. PDK was the only party to refuse to participate in the nine consequential topical confrontations on #DebatPernime.
Through this, PDK was sending a signal that it does not deign to consider its rivals because it is “the strongest.” Moreover, they tried setting rules for the format of the debates. By refusing to debate, they exhibited their whole arrogance and irresponsibility when it comes to accountability. With this approach, PDK was not only disrespecting citizens, but also its voters– as a matter of fact, it was insulting them.
By not taking part in any debate of substance, PDK members deprived themselves of the possibility of presenting their electoral offer. All we heard from them during the campaign – starting with the party’s head Kadri Veseli- were general promises that conveyed nothing to the citizens. They were ‘assurances’ that it would be ‘much better’ with them in power, but no one elaborated on what would be achieved in practice.
The electoral campaign ended, elections were held and people do not know what PAN’s or PDK’s plan is for solving the gravest problems that citizens deal with. What was and is their plan for the decrepit and corrupt healthcare system? What was and is the plan for politicized education? What was and is the plan for economic development, employment and fighting corruption?
The electoral campaign ended, the elections were held, and people will only remember promises relating to how they are the right people to govern, that Serbia will not return to Kosovo with them in power, and that they have the volition to work.
But, the citizens of Kosovo need to know much more than that. For 17 years, they have been fed up with empty promises, with politicians who do not take responsibility for the the things they fail to get done, and who see power only as a privilege and possibility for enriching themselves and their circles. The citizens of Kosovo know how to punish them when they see it fit.
The premiership of Isa Mustafa is the most meaningful example of how an arrogant, refusing and exclusive approach can be avenged. This could have served as a model for the people of PAN and PDK. They intentionally let go of the possibility to confront the citizens and political rivals to offer responsibility for the things that they did and failed to do and the things that they said they would do.
A few days after the elections, citizens are not sure whether the promises made by PAN candidates exist somewhere on paper. No plan or program was put out publicly. And, when no such thing exists, there is no way to present it.
A few days after the elections, citizens are not sure whether the promises made by Haradinaj, Veseli, and Limaj are promises from their own parties or from the coalition. They have presented themselves as completely confused and uncoordinated regarding the things that they said. PDK representatives were especially arrogant when confronting political analysts (and toward the end of the campaign, political rivals, going to TV studios to make a fuss rather than offer arguments. A lot of form, but no content.
The topical confrontations at #DebatPernime have achieved to explain to the audience in the best and most practical manner what the elected did and should do. PDK was fully aware when they refused confrontation, but it was at their own expense more than anything.
For every society, debate is healthy and can only damage those who have no arguments to offer. Running from debates is equal to running from responsibility. Arrogance is not a solution. Arrogance is punished. For real.