Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of the first parliamentary elections held in Albania in the spring of 1921, where our people, with a representative vote, went in front of the ballot boxes. All the details, from the promises of the people’s elected representatives in the election campaigns, their accusations and counter-accusations about the election irregularities, to the government’s implications with the gendarmes demanding votes! All the candidates for deputies of those elections, both those of different political parties and independents, just like those of today, promised their voters: honesty, roads, drying of swamps, public order, tax cuts, freedom of the press, administration reform, social assistance and support for the poor, the interests of the nation in the foreground, etc., etc. A story that is repeated even today after 100 years…?!
Although 100 years have passed since the electoral campaign of the first parliamentary elections for the Parliament of Albania, which took place in the spring of 1921, if we refer to the history of those elections that took place for the first time in our country and the campaigns that developed these last three decades after the fall of the communist regime, we will see that they differ somewhat only in form and not at all in their content! All the candidates for MPs of those elections, both those of different political parties and independents, just like today, promised their voters: honesty, roads, drying of swamps, public order, tax cuts, freedom of the press, reforms in administration, social assistance and support for the poor, the interests of the nation in the foreground, etc. Also, as today, when different political forces still continue to accuse each other of irregularities in the elections, the first parliamentary elections held in Albania in 1921, took place between law and order and irregularities, accusations and counter-accusations, quietness of noise, etc ,! It seems that nothing has changed since then! Candidates for deputies holding high government positions in those of 1921 were accused of using the local administration and gendarmerie forces to gain as many votes as possible and their denials that they had been shown to be correct in office.
How did the electoral campaign of the first parliamentary elections in Albania in 1921 take place, what promises did the candidates for deputies make and how did the press of that time follow their campaign?
Deputies of the first Albanian Parliament from the elections of April 21, 1921
Elections of 1921, candidates for MP present their programs in the press of the time
The electoral campaign for the first parliamentary elections in Albania, which were held in April 1921, began in December 1920, when some newspapers of that time also articulated the first articles announcing the beginning of that campaign. From that time until the end of the parliamentary elections, almost the entire election campaign was followed with great attention by the press of that time. Many of the main newspapers of that period such as “Taraboshi”, “Hylli i Dritës”, “Mbrojtja Kombëtare”, “Gazet e Korçës”, “Besa Shqyptare”, “Shkumini”, “Koha”, “Drita”, “Fjala e Lirë” “,” Demokratia “, etc., which appeared in some of the main cities of Albania, such as Shkodra, Tirana, Elbasan, Vlora, Korca, Gjirokastra, etc., up to” Dielli “produced by the company” Vatra “in the USA, devoted a large space on their pages to the entire election campaign. All those newspapers with literary or political content, from December 1920 began to write the first editorials for the elections to be held in the spring of 1921. The whole campaign was conducted with a fierce propaganda war, both in the press and and by other means, which the candidates for deputies of those elections had at their disposal. In addition to MPs belonging to various political formations and groups, in those elections also ran independent MPs, or as they were called at the time “impartial MPs”, who also presented their programs in the newspapers of that time.
Promises of the candidate for deputy, businessman of Korça
Some of the candidates for MPs, who were engaged in various private businesses, made their electoral programs public even in the press of that time. One of them was Filip Marko Poda, known as the owner of a large factory, who competed in one of the areas of his province in the Prefecture of Korça. In his electoral program, which he published in the newspaper “KOHA” of Mihal Grameno, among other things it was written: “Filip Marko Poda (Former Factory of the Big Factory) Ve candidacy for impartial deputy with the lower program. People. You need to know that any candidate who does not present his program to the people, if voted by him without a program is sent to parliament as a full power and whatever he does to your detriment, the people have no right to protest, if present the program, it’s not even ay right to leave much of the program because then the people have the right to protest and demand its ouster in the middle of the period, so open your eyes if you vote for people without a program.
- The haste of bringing Organizers in all the Ministries and in the Prefectures and even more a specialist financier for the Ministry of Finance who will know how the money comes out without burdening the people with payments even so that they are not wasted. (From point 2 to point 4, we talk about foreign policy. Our note) 5. Protecting the freedom of the press that reveals injustices and iniquities even if the press is sent to court more than once by government, not to be judged by it, but to be judged by the noises, viz. by the people. 6. Taking care of prisons and prisoners to be in healthier areas and to be judged soon that in court they can escape, why stay young in vain. 7. Accelerate full postal regulation. 8. Reform of the entire clergy that most with all illiterates are being put on. Data given by a Journalist to the publication of a newspaper in the Capital with the title-Newspapers’ of the Government, which appears twice a week to publish the works of the Government and the Parliament and the Prefectures and to be distributed to all the Muftars of the villages of the whole state through the Prefectures and Sub-Prefectures and its agreement no 20-30 francs in time to pay the villages that through this Newspaper will be aware the peasant people of every government deed. I assure you that I, as a declaration of innocence, together with the comrades of that category, will give the balance of the Parliament that we will give our votes to that party which will aim to protect the interests of the State, the Nation and the people., not what will be intended for personal maneuvers. As for this, I am sure that the people know the character of Filip Poda, who does not consider hatred and kanozma or personal interests. As for my teachings and knowledge, I already know the eight languages with pounds, but do not forget the fame that this people had given me here two years ago when my kalemi performed miracles that said (God forbid Sali Butka and kalemi of Filip Podës)
With honor Filip Poda.
Opposition accusations: Gendarmes are demanding votes!
In the electoral campaign for the first parliamentary elections of 1921, they announced their candidacies and a part of the high functionaries of the government of that time, such as prefects, deputy prefects, ministers, etc. Although the government of Sulejman Delvina committed that its senior officials, the army, the gendarmerie, and the administration would stay as far away from the elections as possible and would not interfere in them at all, there was much abuse. In some of the country’s prefectures and sub-prefectures, many state administration officials and gendarmes and police were implicated in the election campaign and election process, supporting candidates for MPs who held senior government positions. In this regard, in one of its editorials dated February 19, 1921, the newspaper “Koha” of Korça wrote, among other things: “Elections or Emnime. I do not know what the bad luck of Elbasan is or what it is? Qi to use the influence of the Government here in Elbasan today when the new elections are taking place, singing to us in those beautiful circulars without the support of the Government that could win the elections, remembering that they would send to the national council those people who are the best workers, those who can serve this country as needed but unfortunately dual lie.The government here in Elbasan as a separate party is not accepting (stopping talking) about it Among the many other things that narrate the turmoil of the government in the elections that are taking place, we can also mention this activity that we did in the square without having in mind that we live in Europe: A certain Mustafa Bilishti from Elbasan itself in a village (Bishqem) of Krraba even as a mer r from the gendarmerie station of this village two gendarmes (gendarmes) with them, walk in some villages as in Pajun and Pajova and others, advising villagers and gendarmes that they vote for him and for this. The election of deputies is a right of the people in this matter and the Constitutional Government, which is, has no right to be disturbed at all. So, the central government, considering the great importance of this work and keeping in mind the harmful results of the influence of the Turks who wanted to monopolize the parliament for their own interest, must share these inaccuracies that are happening here and to the free people to elect the best and best deputies, otherwise instead of elections here in Elbasan, the work is coming out with names “.
Polis village elections, by force of arms!
In the electoral campaign and the first parliamentary elections that took place in Albania in the spring of 1921, in addition to many Prefectures where peaceful and trouble-free elections took place, there were other provinces, where they took place irregularly. There were even conflicts in some polling stations in remote villages, where weapons were used. One of these conflicts took place in the village of Polis in the Prefecture of Elbasan, where there was almost no bloodshed between the two tribes of that village due to the voting. Regarding this event in its issue of March 4, 1921, among other things, the newspaper “Shkumini” of Elbasan wrote: “Elections in Polis. On the 20th of this month the commission was sent from here to do the voting in the province of Shpati, went in the village of Polis, which is the first center of that province, he called the people to gather in the mosque. On that day, as time had passed, Zenun Cekani’s neighborhood voted. ) about 100 souls came to vote, but the village mayor (elder) Jonuz Zharri, did not come to the mosque anymore and said that none of those who had gathered to vote would cast their votes, otherwise it would fall to them with a rifle, he also demanded that the votes of Cekan’s party be burned without being sung at all. Dick Muzhaqi and his party said that yesterday they voted, and today we will vote. As the commission saw that there would be bloodshed, burn the votes and leave to vote for the second center.We add that the two tribes, Cek “Ani and Muzhaqi are blood relatives with each other and are in enmity”.
Elections in the city of Elbasan, with calm and the music band
The first parliamentary elections of 1921 were considered a great historical event by the government of that time, which, although made every effort to hold them as smoothly and smoothly as possible, did not achieve its goal. One of the cities where those elections took place regularly and peacefully was Elbasan, where its local authorities had taken all necessary measures to turn election day into a holiday. Regarding this, the newspaper “Shkumini” of Elbasan, among other things, wrote: “Voting of the deputies of the Prefecture of Elbasan. On the 21st of this month, on the 3rd of lat allaturka, the voting started here in the Hotel” Kosova “. In the prepared hall gathered: Katundaris Council, Administrative Council, Judicial Body, Election Inspector, Rexhep Jella, American Red Cross ladies and the director of “Shkumin” as a representative of this newspaper.The police and gendarmerie had taken their seats in front of the hotel and when they arrived The Director of Police, Mr. Josif Skile, and the Lieutenants, Mr. Alush Kastrati and Mr. Sulejman Voshtina, looked at the polling stations for weapons.Voters in the city and in the province of Quks, Mokër, Çermenikë, Gryk e Xaranikë, Shpat, Dumre e Krrab, along with the city music band, were stationed in the hotel garden.When the voting started, the music band during the flag march and the chairman of the voting commission, Mr. Kasem Sejdini addressed the voters with these words. patriot alë: “In today’s meeting, Your Excellency, who is the second elector of the city and the provinces, 8 deputies will be elected who for the first time in the political life of Albania will participate in the National Council, in that council with its laws it will ensure the liberation, the progress and the direction of the unification of the Nation “. After the words of the mayor, the voting started according to the alphabetical order of the provinces and continued with an extraordinary order and calm. At 6 o’clock in the morning, the ballot box was opened and the formalities ordered by the canon were performed, as well as the end of the voting of the sub-prefectures, Peqin and Gramsh, the list of elected deputies was officially announced who won out of a total of 184 votes. : Mr. Shefqet Vërlaci 97 votes, Mr. Mehdi Be Frashëri 97, Mr. Behxhet Be Hyti 96, Mr. Shefqet Daiu 96, Mr. Anton Beca 96, Mr. Shyqëri Myftiu 96, Mr. Ahmet Hastopalli 95, Mr. Taq Buda 95. The representatives of the province of Quks, with their noble behavior make a good impression in the hearts of the people. The government, with the superscripts sent by one after the other, will not recognize the right of our Prefecture with 8 deputies and wants to have only 7 “.
Press: The government of Vrion is manipulating the elections!
The entire electoral campaign and voting of the first parliamentary elections held in Albania in the spring of 1921, was covered by a series of numerous irregularities and manipulations by senior state officials who had put up their candidacies for MPs. All those irregularities and various pressures of the high officials of the government of that time, which was headed by Iljaz bey Vrioni to win the votes illegally, found a great reflection in the whole press of that time. Some of the main newspapers that appeared in Shkodra, Tirana, Elbasan, Vlora, Korca, etc., were in opposition to the government, denouncing the pressure of its ministers and senior officials. Most of these articles, published 85 years ago, are no different from those of the July 3, 2005 parliamentary elections, the problems of which have not yet been resolved.
“Koha” newspaper: Government puts pressure on Durrës
One of the newspapers that denounced the manipulations of the government in the election campaign was the newspaper “Koha”, which in one of its issues of February 1921, published a letter from a citizen of Durrës. It gave a full picture of the implication and violence that the government of Iljaz Bey Vrion was exercising against the population of that prefecture, in order for its candidates to win the elections. Among other things, it was said that the Prefecture and the Sub-Prefecture of Durrës received order after order from the government of Iljaz Bey Vrioni, that the local government authorities should not interfere in the Parliamentary elections, but in reality, the situation was completely different from what was said and that all those orders were nothing but ashes to the eyes of the people. As an example, there was the case of the Durrës Club, which for six weeks wanted to hold a conference, where the people would be instructed on their participation in the elections and voting procedures, but that conference had failed after the intervention of the government and the Prefect of Durrës who had put pressure on the club leaders to give up their idea. Regarding these pressures of the government of Vrion, in the newspaper “Koha” it was said, among other things: “Now it has been a few days since the Club gathered to talk to the candidates for the second elections of the deputies. and started his propaganda according to the law of custom that reigns in every free country.But after two days an order of the Ministry P. Interior forces the president of the Club, Dr. Nekina to go to Tirana in front of the Minister and to reprimand and frighten him fired. ” Further in that letter published in the newspaper “Koha” it was emphasized that it was shameful that the cabinet of Iljaz Bey Vrioni dealt with such pressures, as those ways of action in the first place would harm the government itself which from the beginning had promised that it would be too liberal. Ironically, senior government officials did not leave a stone unturned in order to remain in power again, the newspaper wrote: “Ah chair, let their feet be kicked, how sweet you are.”
Denunciations: Minister Xhaferr Ypi is using power!
The denunciations against senior government officials who were implicated in the election campaign and the electoral process in that letter were given with concrete names, such as Xhaferr Bey Ypi, who was said to have known him as an honest and patriotic man who he was well acquainted with the laws of government and justice, but by his conduct in those elections he had shown the opposite. Regarding Xhaferr Ypi’s illegal actions, it said whether it could be an honest job for a minister to call and put pressure on his fellow citizens just because they did not want to vote for him. In what school and in what books did Xhaferr Ypi learn and read the action he had taken and could an ordinary citizen be prevented from openly expressing his opinion. From these things it was emphasized in that letter that things in Albania were always going backwards and the free rights that the people had to express their opinion were violated in the most flagrant way by the government. For Minister Xhaferr Ypi, in that letter it was said that he was influencing with his authority, so that in the city of Durrës only those candidates who served him were elected deputies. Below, the letter stated that with the parliamentary elections approaching, some ministers of Iljaz Vrioni’s cabinet had begun to make transfers of some local administration officials and police chiefs, sending them to the areas where they had run for parliament. , in order for them to help them win the election. As an example, for this, the deputy prefect and the commissioner of the Kruja Police were given, who were transferred to Peqin and Starovo of Pogradec. At the end of that letter published in the newspaper “Koha” it was said that for all those manipulations that were being done by the government, the people of Durrës would organize a protest manifestation in front of the government headquarters in Tirana.
Law: Anyone who does not see the name should complain and voter lists will be suspended for a week
In addition to the many instructions and circulars that the government of Iljaz Bey Vrioni started to issue for the most normal conduct of the first parliamentary elections, in the beginning of 1921 it made public in some press bodies the election law that had been previously approved by the government. The law, which consisted of many points, stated, among other things: “No. 1. civil right those who have filed for bankruptcy, prisoners and insane: masandaj extract from the registers of the Civil State Albanian men citizens 20 years and older.Each city or country will be issued in separate papers and in these cities will be hung in places of the villages in the centers of the Primates.These will remain a week dependent, and every man whose name has not been mistakenly written, has the right to complain, and his complaint must be looked at by the above-mentioned Joint Councils in this The election of the Deputies will be done through mediation, ie by indirect voting. (Souffrage indirect.) N. 6. All those men who are 20 years old and above, pay or do not pay vergji, have the right to vote in any office for a second election. N.10. In the centers of the Prefectures or Sub-Prefectures when the judges are left, others will be requested from the Ministry of Justice which will be obliged to send them. N.14 Those who oppose the second election shall file an objection within four days. These objections are reviewed within two days within the Katundari and the decision is given which is pre. “If in any province there are reasons to hold a second round of elections, and these reasons are accepted by the Councils, then this new election should end in four days.”
Attempts for the first elections in 1877 to be held for the Parliament of Turkey
The history of elections in our country or more precisely the attempts for elections have their origins from the time of the Ottoman rule, when Albania was part of the Turkish Empire. One of the first Albanian deputies to be elected to the first Turkish Parliament, which opened in December 1877, was Abdyl Frashëri. But that Parliament did not last long, as it was overthrown by the Sultan himself, due to the start of the Russo-Turkish War. After the dissolution of the first Parliament of Turkey, there were several other attempts for elections, but all failed for various reasons. The first regular elections in Albania were held only in 1908, when the Young Turks came to power in Turkey. Those elections were not direct, but by representation, or as they are otherwise known by second voters. The first parliament of Turkey was opened on December 10, 1908 and out of 266 deputies, 27 of them were Albanians elected in the four vilayets of Albania. At that time, the members of the “Union-Progress” Committee, in Turkey, which included many Albanians, were divided and grouped into three political groups. The first group was Bashkim-Përparim (Turkish-Macedonian party) with 164 deputies, of which 130 were Turks, 5 Arabs, 1 Greek and 15 Albanians, led by Hasan Prishtina, a Kosovo MP. In the second group, called: Bashkimi-Liberal (Greek-Albanian party) which consisted of 45 deputies, there were 12 Albanians, led by Ismail Qemali. Among the other Albanian deputies that the Turkish Parliament had at that time, were Esad Pasha Toptani, Nexhip Draga, Rexhep Pasha Mati, etc. After 1908, there were several other elections, where Albanians continued to vote for their representatives in the Turkish Parliament and that lasted until 1912, when independence was declared./Memorie.al