The race for Durres, the municipality of big projects and big debates

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Durres is the country’s second largest municipality after the capital and one of the most important. It serves as the district’s hub, together with Kruja and Shijak. The Democrats lost control of the “castle” in 2000, and the socialists have ruled for the past 23 years.

According to Civil Registry data, the Municipality of Durres has over 300,000 inhabitants, with over 260,000 registered voters.

Durres is also the municipality of large projects and large discussions over them. The most recent ideas are for a new tourist port and the relocation of the business port, and the debates involve Arabs and Europeans as well as locals.

The yacht launched by Mayor Dako at the end of 2016 sparked criticism, and the argument continues, as the unfinished work has cost $6.6 million so far.

The trash dilemma is still ongoing and has a temporary remedy. They are delivered to Tirana’s yet-to-be-built incinerator for processing. The task at hand is to make the cleaning service available throughout the municipality.

The terrible earthquake on November 26, 2019, provided the largest challenge for Durres as a municipality and area. Reconstruction thrust Deputy Mayor Emiriana Sako to the fore, and she now wants a full term as mayor, with opposition coalition “Together We Win” competitor Igli Cara in her way.

Mismanagement, which is associated with ineptitude at best and corruption at worst, impedes the delivery of services to voters. It also becomes the “battle horse” in local races, and not even Durres can escape this, especially since it is regarded as a municipality capable of generating revenue and development.

Last year, the municipality with coastal and historic tourism welcomed 1 million visitors. The main port in Albania handles more than 90% of all port loading and unloading volumes and is regarded as the country’s most vital trade hub.

Durres, however, continues to struggle with drinking water due to limited and remote sources. The key issues are unemployment, road/water supply-sewerage infrastructure, and the preservation of open space.

Large migration has resulted in the city’s rapid and unplanned expansion in the old Knet and along the shore. Sewerage, black water, highways, and public parking are all examples of overburdened urban infrastructure. Road connections to the city’s exit have been created in recent years, but they are still unable to handle the influx.

Even the municipality’s 39 villages require their own infrastructure. Agriculture development in rural areas is critical and an opportunity in terms of output for the tourist sector. Candidates are asked to provide alternatives and guarantees for the preservation of archaeological assets when the land is developed.