Interviewed by: Evliana BERANI
With their motto “The tenders and employment, are first for me, then for my relatives and vice-presidents, and then for the people as well” the ranks of Partia e Fortë are increasing more everyday. Unofficially, some of the vice-presidents said to Info Globi that, “leaders have been joking around with the citizens of Kosovo and now is the time for citizens to mock them back.”
Obviously the Partia e Fortë (which translates to The Strong Party in English), led by Visar Arifaj self named as Legendary President, is not usual Kosovar political party. Many of the youngsters who are part of it are famous names from different fields such as art, music, information technology, etc.
InfoGlobi: It is said that you have been formed by PDK to undermine the leader of LDK, Isa Mustafa. Are these allegations true?
Arifaj: This claim has some deficits because, with the exception of PDK, the other parties formed us. Even though they are competing, each political party saw the necessity in our establishment. LDK contributed here too.
InfoGlobi: Why would they do such thing?
Arifaj: They simply understood that now is the time for a more serious party, which can solve the situation we are facing today.
InfoGlobi: Did you have any contacts with other political parties competing for Prishtina?
Arifaj: We have ongoing contacts with each political party. We work in coordination with everyone. Hopefully the elections will go as well as they have gone so far!
Definitely these are cooperative contacts because we are open to cooperate with every other political party, and also with citizens who want to reach their own goals and ideas through the Strong Party. It is understood that we are an influential political party, therefore we are open to suggestions and we will be more inclusive so that other parties can communicate their thoughts to us.
InfoGlobi: What is your political platform? What do you plan to do as a political party for education, health care, infrastructure and business climate?
Arifaj: The detailed program will be announced in the upcoming days when the campaign will begin. However, there is no doubt that we will take power; that is already a well-known fact.
Regarding education we think that high school is unnecessary, we have seen from the politics that to be successful in life you don’t need to finish high school. This will save the money and time that students waste. We will make the transition from primary school straight to undergraduate or, or simply directly to work.
The way that the health care system was operating till now was wrong. I think that instead of focusing on curing the ill people, we should work on prevention. We will not allow them get sick.
We as a party have thought that, as a preventive measure every family should have a charm that we will remove the illnesses from their every day life.
For the economy, those who support Partia e Forte, have absolute priority. They will immediately find jobs together with their families. If we cannot find them jobs at the private sector, we will engage them in the administrative jobs. The experience with other parties have shown that the administration and other bureaucratic institutions can generate infinite job positions, for all who vote or steal votes for us.
InfoGlobi: Another problem that is expected to come to the surface soon is the lack of the registration lists or the register of naming the owners of properties. Due to numerous usurpations, and the illegal transformations of property from one to the other, this problem obviously will reflect the economy. What will the Partia e Fortë do?
Arifaj: The solution is very simple: the Partia e Fortë will return all the contested properties to the Party’s ownership. We believe that this is the best way to avoid conflicts: none of the contesting parties will get the property, because the Strong Party will get the ownership of the land or the object.
InfoGlobi: Who will finance your campaign?
Arifaj: Everyone feels a moral obligation to contribute to the Partia e Fortë. Definitely, we expect that every citizen and every professional in their field will offer something. These are not only our expectations, but it is the situation that everyone offers their services free of charge and with their free will only to help the major issues in the country.
InfoGlobi: How is the Strong Party structured?
Arifaj: The internal structure is organized more in a traditional way. It starts with the family members of every vice-president and their cousins and in some cases we have needed to expand the membership to the friends of each vice-president. However, so far we don’t see the need to expand that much, because the relatives of the vice-presidents have proved enough. In fact, they are more than enough.
InfoGlobi: You are mentioning the word tradition and traditional behavior. We are not seeing you with jeeps and luxurious cars. You are using your bike, right?
Arifaj: Nowadays it is more traditional to use jeeps and official vehicles in the city, but if we peel back then we see that the bike is more traditional. Therefore, we use them as the most successful tool to handle the traffic in Prishtina.
InfoGlobi: What will you about the traffic, how is the lack of parking spaces in the city going to be solved?
Arifaj: One of the solutions that we have proposed is to create parking spaces in the areas that are still unused in Prishtina. The green spaces especially will be used: the areas with trees that don’t have any function. The City Park and Germia are two spaces that are not used in the best way. We’ll do everything we can to transform these into parking spaces. We are, however, going to decorate them with flowers and trees; but unlike the existing ones, not with flowers and trees that decay: we are going to ‘plant’ synthetic flowers. Synthetic plants won’t bother us, don’t need maintenance and they are long lasting. But also eradicating the existing plants will save the municipal budget for health care, because people won’t suffer from allergies.
InfoGlobi: What about kindergartens? In your candidate list you 70 percent are females. A major problem of female recruitment is the lack of kindergartens.
Arifaj: No we didn’t predict that 70% had to be females but it is regulated by law that one sex should have 30% representation. We have thus achieved to engage over 30% of males in our Party. And the kindergarten problem is not only for females, but for males as well. Both sexes participate in raising the children.
According to our studies, this already exists, because males participate in taking care of the children, but they try to show their manhood, so they hide it.
InfoGlobi: What will you do with the water shortages?
Arifaj: We have excessive hygiene. We should bathe less and drink less water, and this problem will be solved. It is enough for the father to take a bath, why should everyone in the family use the water?
InfoGlobi: Where do university students fit into your platform?
Arifaj: Students are the social class that is most easily satisfied. They don’t need much change, its sufficient for them to reduce the price of photocopies to 1 cent and reduce the cost of burek to 10 cents. These will be subsidized by the municipality. Furthermore, all companies that bear the name ‘student’ will be released from taxes.
InfoGlobi: How do you plan to raise funds to increase the municipal budget?
Arifaj: The municipal budget is already satisfactory and sufficient. On this note, we have contacted many local businesses who are willing to contribute to the wellbeing of the country. This is already happening – many people call this a ‘tribute’ – but I find this term inadequate for the goodwill that has been shown by the businesses.
InfoGlobi: If your goal was to increase the budget, where will you use the amassed money?
Arifaj: Changes often bring dissatisfaction: therefore, we will be discrete during this process, so that the citizens won’t feel the change and development. However, over time we notice that the collective welfare is developing, therefore, people won’t have to focus on it because the Party will be concerned with that.
InfoGlobi: Your opinion on leadership in Kosovo and the region.
Arifaj: We are a very democratic country, so my answer would be that the citizens of Kosovo are their own leaders. The region too has had some developments in this field. They should work to reach the democracy that Kosovo has already.
InfoGlobi: How can the municipality help reduce poverty and unemployment? Does the municipality have a role on this and can it bring change in this direction?
Arifaj: We mentioned earlier that we don’t see the unemployment rate as a major problem. The bigger problem we see is the employment rate, since the ratio of unemployment to employment is 40 to 60. Hence, the bigger problem is for those who work, because they have an obligation: they have to work while others can relax!
We want a situation where as many people as possible can relax. Unemployment doesn’t have to lead to poverty. We think that we can enrich the citizens of Prishtina without engaging them in work. One can become rich only with your existence.
InfoGlobi: Which will be the biggest project for Prishtina if you win the majority of the votes?
Arifaj: It would be good for Prishtina to develop more art, especially visual arts, and also for there to be more development in information technology. But we won’t push these areas forward because they don’t bring votes. Until now the best and the safest way is focusing on asphalt. Therefore, regardless the skills that our vice-presidents have, the focus will be building the highway that will connect the Arberia neighborhood and Bregu I Diellit. We have shown an outline of how the highway might look; it will go through the National Library, and the tunnel will be built to the highest European standards
InfoGlobi: Have you been in contact with the international representative community, did they express any interest for this new party?
Arifaj: In fact we have ongoing contacts with international community. After all, we are their product, because as we know that all political processes and all political developments cannot be done without the approval of international community. The fact that we exist shows that we have cooperated with them.
InfoGlobi: What do you think about the role of the media in nowadays?
Arifaj: More and more everyday we see that the Kosovar media is moving in the right direction. We have noticed the influence that political parties have on the media, but we don’t see this as negative. Actually, we believe that it’s positive that every political subject possess a medium where they can express themselves.
At the moment we are a bit dissatisfied with RTK, because they are giving more priority to PDK than our party, but we believe that with the change of the leadership – meaning when we take power – RTK will improve and the Strong Party will become RTK’s priority.
*Unofficial Translation. Original article was written in Albanian and can be found in https://infoglobi.com/flet-komandanti-lexhendar-visar-arifaj/