CEC registers Democratic Conviction candidates for local elections among debates

CEC registers Democratic Conviction candidates for local elections among debates

TIRANA, May 20 – In Albania, the Central Election Commission approved among debates on Monday the registration of 6 candidacies for head of municipalities by the Democratic Conviction Party. These candidates’ registration was surrounded by debate because according to the

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Artists carry on protests against demolition of National Theater building

Artists carry on protests against demolition of National Theater building

TIRANA, May 19 – A group of Albanian artists, supported by citizens of Tirana, continue to protest every day near the National Theater’s historic building, in an attempt to protect it from the government’s planned demolition. “We expect the National

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Montenegrin police sequesters 205 kg of alleged Albanian cannabis

Montenegrin police sequesters 205 kg of alleged Albanian cannabis

TIRANA, May 18 – Montenegrin police announced on Friday that it found and seized near the Buna River, in the place called Sutjel in the Ulcinj territory, about seven bags with 205 kg of cannabis inside them. According to Montenegrin

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Majority of mayors fail the wealth test

Majority of mayors fail the wealth test

TIRANA, May 16- Balkan Insight in Albania has prepared a report based on long investigation and data provided by the High Inspectorate of Declaration and Audit of Property and Conflict of Interest (HIDAACI) regarding the wealth of mayors from all

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President calls on political parties to avoid civil confrontation

President calls on political parties to avoid civil confrontation

TIRANA, May 17 – Albanian President Ilir Meta called on the main political parties to act responsibly regarding the country’s deadlock on Friday and resolve the political crisis. Meta said that the majority and the opposition must act responsibly and

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Resigned opposition seeks right to propose commissioners in electoral administration

Resigned opposition seeks right to propose commissioners in electoral administration

TIRANA, May 17 – Senior officials of the opposition’s resigned Democratic Party claimed on Thursday that they have told their branches in different cities to propose opposition members to the Zonal Electoral Administration Commissions (KZAZ), even though the DP did

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Plans to turn key Tirana-Durres highway into toll road resurfice

Plans to turn key Tirana-Durres highway into toll road resurfice

TIRANA, May 16 – Within this year’s fall, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy plans the signing of a concession contract for the Tirana-Durres highway which, among others, foresees the establishment of a pay toll.   The news was reported

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European Court fines Albania €110 mln for PM’s comments

European Court fines Albania €110 mln for PM’s comments

TIRANA, May 16 – The European Court of Human Rights fined Albania € 110 millions for the public statements of Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama against Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti back in 2015. A number of local media sources reported

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Albanian opposition marches in protest of “crime government”

Albanian opposition marches in protest of “crime government”

TIRANA, May 14 – Monday’s national anti-government protest took place as a march in front of “some of the institutions that Rama has stolen from Albanians,” opposition leader Lulzim Basha said before the protesters, who initially gathered in front of

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President congratulates new North Macedonia President Stevo Pendarovski

President congratulates new North Macedonia President Stevo Pendarovski

TIRANA, May 13 – On Sunday, Albanian President Ilir Meta participated in the official swearing-in ceremony of the new President of the Republic of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski. After the oath ceremony, Meta was received in a special meeting by

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 20 - In Albania, the Central Election Commission approved among debates on Monday the registration of 6 candidacies for head of municipalities by the Democratic Conviction Party.

These candidates’ registration was surrounded by debate because according to the Democratic Party's representative at the CEC, but also according to independent experts, the Democratic Conviction did not meet the legal registration requirements for its candidates.

The Electoral Code provides that if there is a lack of signatures by residents of the area where the party competes, the party should have a parliamentary representative who holds the MP’s mandate for at least the last six months.

The Democratic Conviction has presented a certificate for one of the DP's deputies who joined its ranks, and has stated that it also has the support of another MP, Lefter Koka.

CEC Chairman Klement Zguri proposed again to ask the parliament to clarify the issued certificates but with a majority of votes this proposal was not accepted and the registration of candidates from the DC was voted, a party established a few weeks ago by a a group of former representatives of the Democratic Party, which has resigned from parliament. 

But while the 6 DC party candidates were admitted, one of them, Salvator Kaçaj, only a little later announced his resignation from running for the post. 

In a later announcement, Kacaj said he had understood his candidacy would be a facade that would assist the Rama government.

I can not serve as a facade of an attempt to return to Albania a one-party regime, mixed with crime. I am grateful to the people and the true friends that made me realize that what I had accepted to take part in was not a real race, but a farce serving Edi Rama's power,” Kacaj said.

At the close of his statement, Kaçaj said he would join the DP’s cause for the departure of the Rama government.

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 19 - A group of Albanian artists, supported by citizens of Tirana, continue to protest every day near the National Theater's historic building, in an attempt to protect it from the government’s planned demolition. 

“We expect the National Theater to begin restoration, but there is no possibility for this unless this government resigns. If this government regains political or local confidence, the theater risks a lot because they have made up their the mind to demolish it. All of us coming to the Theater Square know very well that if this government does not fall, or change, or a caretaker government doesn’t get established, I do not know, the national theater will always be at risk,” said Robert Budina, a renowned filmmaker and co-organizer of the protest. 

The government and the municipality have made plans for high-rise buildings and a new theater in that area and have abandoned the historic building, where for 80 years all the institutions of Albanian culture were born and where the best Albanian artists acted many parts of international and domestic dramaturgy.

The artists also restored at the building’s entrance the NT letters, which the municipal workers removed at night. 

American professor Lori Amy was there with the citizens during the letter placement.

“It was a beautiful and magical moment. It was a concrete restoration and that night we saw a group of great spirits telling us that we can and that we will revive our country. The age variety was also important that night; grandparents and grandchildren, young and middle-aged, came from every sector of the Albanian population and participated in the restoration of letters. It has never been and will never be a political issue. From the very beginning, many people with very different political attitudes are participating in the defense of the National Theater to show that we can resume our country,” Amy said.

Albanian artists are occasionally visited by artists and scholars from Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Belgium, Britain and other countries. This weekend they met with 11 researchers from the US.

“Our group has come from Rollins College, Orlando Florida. We came here to study Albanian culture for two weeks, traveling across different regions of Albania, to learn how Albanian culture has survived various events over the years and centuries. The spirit of the people; this is being admired and studied,” said Jonathan H. Harwell of Rollins College, Florida.

"Here we meet with groups from universities, academics, writers, directors and actors, and we are learning a lot about Albania, its culture and history. Here we also heard about the protest of artists defending the National Theater. Albania is a beautiful country, people are nice and friendly, they have an interesting history as people and we are still learning a lot about it,” said Margaret McLaren of Rollins College in Florida.

When American scholars leave, Albanian artists continue the protest, determined to hinder plans for the demolition of the National Theater, knowing well that the Rama government and the municipality are equally determined to do so, and that local elections in June also depend on the existence of the most famous cultural center of Albania. 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 18 - Montenegrin police announced on Friday that it found and seized near the Buna River, in the place called Sutjel in the Ulcinj territory, about seven bags with 205 kg of cannabis inside them. 

According to Montenegrin police information four people were transporting the bags  in the vicinity of Buna River, making an escape only after being seen by the police. .

The cannabis allegedly comes from Albania and was destined to go to Montenegro. 

Meanwhile, the police is working on capturing and identifying the traffickers, but also their associates, as they are suspected to belong to a bigger narco-trafficking network. 

Recently, Montenegrin police have consistently blocked considerable amounts of drugs, mainly cannabis, all transported to Montenegro in different forms.

The border areas between Montenegro and Albania such as the Buna River, Shkodra Lake, Malesia and Vermosh areas are considered to be the most suitable territories for the trafficking of narcotics towards Montenegro and Europe. 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 16- Balkan Insight in Albania has prepared a report based on long investigation and data provided by the High Inspectorate of Declaration and Audit of Property and Conflict of Interest (HIDAACI) regarding the wealth of mayors from all municipalities in Albania, which was acquired while holding office. It turns out about half of them can’t justifying their wealth based on their income and declarations. 

On June 30, Albanian citizens will turn to ballot boxes to elect the mayors of 61 municipalities in the country. Candidates to be elected for the first time, like those who will receive another mandate, are required to submit annually their property declarations to the HIDAACI . Since 2015, the HIDAACI has referred to the Prosecution three mayors on charges of false declaration of wealth-issues which have been dismissed with the argument of lack of evidence. However, the data provided by BIRN through requests for information suggests that the level of discrepancies in local property politicians' declarations is many times higher than the number of lawsuits raised by this Inspectorate.

An analysis of all property declarations that 61 current mayors have filed by the end of 2017 reveals that 54 percent of them can not justify raising their wealth for at least one year of career. In total, the unjustified amount from the declared resources reaches the value of 201 million lek, or 1.6 million euros. Property Statements of current Mayors were analyzed with the assistance of three financial experts who categorized and put the data provided by property declarations into a database. The information was analyzed using the arithmetic-logical control method, which is similar to the forms the Inspectorate uses when verifying the wealth of public officials.

Arithmetic-Logic Control compares household financial records as well as other information with previous statements to identify hidden income data in transactions conducted by politicians, according to the Council of Europe's Income Analysis Handbook and the assets of public officials. In other words, this check explains whether the money that the politician claims to have benefited is consistent with the assets and the money spent by him. The inconsistencies between incomes and expenses incurred are not necessarily illegal. However, these discrepancies do raise red flags, which normally require in-depth verifications from the High Inspectorate of Declaration and Audit of Assets and Conflict of Interest.

 

Unjustified wealth

Albania underwent a deep administrative-territorial reform in 2014, reducing the number of local units from 384 to 61. The reform wiped out divisions between townships and municipalities, and defined the consolidation of power in larger administrative units, with the purpose of using the  financial resources better, as well as providing services to citizens. According to the HIDAACI annual report, 4746 public officials periodically declare their property and private interests. Declaration of property includes property of officials and family members, property source as well as financial obligations. Mayors hold only 1.3 percent of the total number of public officials.

Focusing on local mayor declarations, 509 property declarations were administered, and  excluding the first year of the declaration of each of them, 436 statements were subjected to the method of arithmetic-logical control. The data analysis obtained through the arithmetic-logical control method shows that 60 out of 436 statements supplemented by mayors over the years 2003-2017 failed to pass the test. Problem statements account for 13.8 percent of the total analyzed.

Of the 61 verified mayors, only 28 resulted with no problems with the claimed property, while 33 mayors or 54 percent of the total had at least in one year of their career a negative difference between the declared income on one hand, and the assets or expenditure on the other side. Among the 33 mayors who failed in arithmetic-logical control, 22 resulted in unhenged margins only for one year of their career. 11 other mayors appear with negative differences from 2 to 6 years of wealth declaration.

The total unjustified value with legal resources from 33 mayors, is estimated at 1.6 million euros, or 10 percent of the total assets declared by the current 61 current chiefs. The analysis of asset declarations also shows that none of the mayors declared livelihood expenses over the years 2003-2017. If their financial statements were to add to the minimum living costs for the family, the number of problematic statements would increase from 60 to 139 or 32 percent of total statements. This means that out of the 61 mayors in office, 57 would have at least one year of their career unwarranted wealth through declared resources. 

 

Plenty of red flags

In parallel with arithmetic-logical control, BIRN undertook an in-depth analysis of the structure of assets declared by 61 mayors for the purpose of identifying red flags in their statements, including gifts and loans from family members, real estate transactions in high values, shares in private companies or large cash savings. The structural analysis the media agency used is based on an already consolidated methodology developed and used by BIRN Albania in previous studies on the wealth of judges and prosecutors currently undergoing the vetting process as part of a reform aimed at purging the judicial system from corruption and restore public confidence in the institutions.

The insured data show that 61 mayors have jointly declared crude assets worth 14.2 million euros before starting their mandate as local elected candidates, with an average fortune for each of them at the value of 233,890 euros. By the end of 2017, the total wealth of mayors is estimated at 18.7 million euros, marking an increase of 4.5 million euros. However, the division of property among mayors is not the same. The data show that six mayors have assets of more than 1 million euros, 28 others had assets estimated between 100 thousand and 1 million euros, and 15 mayors declare in the band 50 thousand to 100 thousand euros. Only 12 mayors have declared assets of less than 50 thousand euros.

Of the total assets of 18.7 million euros, 76 percent consists of real estate, 11.4 percent of bank liquidity, and 5.6 percent or 1,047,202 euros are kept in cash. A smaller value, 251,595 is claimed to have been lended to third parties. High value of money held out of the banking system or loans to third parties, which together constitute 6.9 percent of total assets are considered a red flag by best international practices. This should have encourage HIDAACI to undertake in-depth financial controls.

Another red flag identified by the qualitative analysis of mayors’ property declarations is the fact that none of them ever declares objects of special value more than 300,000 lek (2400 euros). Ownership of shares in private companies is estimated at 0.3 percent of total assets. However, because these companies generate large revenue for the chief architects, these assets should also be subject to verification.

The analysis of the obligations declared by the 61 mayors raised other red flags. By the end of 2017, the 61 mayors together had 3.8 million euros worth of liabilities, of which 55.2 percent belonged to banks, 32.1 percent were loans received to third persons, and 12.6 percent were unpaid liabilities to construction companies. The fact that 45 percent of the liabilities declared by 61 mayors were borrowed from third parties or unpaid obligations to construction companies marks another problem to be investigated. About 61 percent of the expenses declared by local mayors go for the payment of obligations, which should also raise alarm bells for domestic investigators.

Total revenues of 61 mayors during their years in office amount to 8.7 million euros. About 66.5 percent of this income stems from the salary as a mayor and family payments. A significant part, about 14 percent of revenues comes from dividends from businesses and another 5.9 percent from real estate transactions. The high value of income derived from businesses and real estate transactions, rents or cash gifts are also considered red flags for the wealth of local politicians. These red flags identified in the BIRN analysis do not necessarily prove to be illegal assets, but underline the need to strengthen the property declaration control mechanism to identify hidden assets or unjustified lifestyles by top local officials.
                    [post_title] => Majority of mayors fail the wealth test
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 17 - Albanian President Ilir Meta called on the main political parties to act responsibly regarding the country’s deadlock on Friday and resolve the political crisis.

Meta said that the majority and the opposition must act responsibly and be aware of the consequences they will face if the country goes in a civil row. 

“This situation should not exist 22 years after Albania separated with 1997, which was a very bad year. Everyone should make a self check and take responsibility. For completely selfish and occult interests, Albania and Albanians don’t need to go to confrontation for completely selfish and occult interests. They have decided to co-exist in a democratic way and have separated from exclusionary systems since the 90s,” Meta said. 

He added that no one can put their responsibilities on others, much less to the President of the Republic.

“They know very well what needs to be done and should be aware of the consequences they will face if they lead the country towards confrontation,” Meta said. 

On the other hand, the head of OSCE in Albania, Ambassador Bernd Borchardt, said at a scientific conference on communist crimes on Friday that even at present the shadows of the totalitarian past are here, as groups holding different opinions curse each other without facts and without logical arguments .

“Dialogue with the political opponent is refused. Those who try to put the facts against myth are attacked. This dictatorial discussion is heard by many Albanian politicians; sooner or later they end up accusing each other with metaphors and the early rhetoric of "the enemy of the people,” Borchardt said. 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 17 - Senior officials of the opposition’s resigned Democratic Party claimed on Thursday that they have told their branches in different cities to propose opposition members to the Zonal Electoral Administration Commissions (KZAZ), even though the DP did not register any candidates for local elections.

DP deputy chairman Edi Paloka and secretary-general Gazmend Bardhi told local media that they have instructed branches to propose members to the KZAZs because the electoral process is being heavily manipulated, starting with the illegal registration of candidates for heads of municipality. 

The DP did not register candidates for the June 30 municipal elections, missing already the legal deadline. 

Representatives of the Coalition of Local Observers, a voluntary union of citizens who oversee the electoral process, stated that besides the expiration of the legal deadline for candidate registration, the deadline for parliamentary parties to propose names to their commissioners in the KZAZ has also legally expired.

“After the opposition did not send any commissioners’ names, the Central Elections Committee declared the vacancies and so far 490 citizens' requests have been submitted for the commissioners’ duties, of which 90 names have been approved. The KZAZ commissioner registration deadline has expired, but the legal deadline is still in force to send the names of the commissioners to the Local Elections Commission,” said Gerta Meta, head of the Association for Democratic Culture and a member of the Domestic Observers Coalition.

According to Meta, the real question for the CEC is whether it will still recognize the DP as a parliamentary party now that it has left parliament and has resigned its mandates.

“Article 29 point 5 of the Electoral Code states that if parliamentary parties do not submit candidacies to the KZAZ within the legal deadline, this right goes to other parliamentary parties sorted by number of seats in parliament. If they do not even nominate members, the CEC appoints the members of the KZAZ itself,” emphasized Meta.

But the Electoral Code specifies that the members appointed by the CEC remain in office until the nomination of the members proposed by the political parties, and this substitution can take place up to 30 days before the elections.

According to Meta, it remains for the CEC to clarify whether PD can be legally called a parliamentary party even after resigning the mandates of MPs and their replacement with MPs from the same parliamentary list.

Paloka told ABC TV that PD is taking this step with the commissioners, because the governing Socialist Party, with the help of a new opposition party, is manipulating the election process. 

“June 30 elections will not take place. If Rama out of stubborness continues with this arrogance, we will certainly face them. For us there is no turning back. There are can be no elections without the opposition,” said DP deputy chairman Paloka.

"We are thinking of sending our commissioners to the KZAZs, as we have information that the KZAZs are made up of Rebirth members, in addition to some Rebirth members who have already been introduced as independent and are manipulating. We will be there to control everything, even the manipulations that have already been confirmed,” Paloka said. 

CEC spokeswoman Drilona Hoxha said that the CEC has not yet received any request from the DP to occupy seats in the election commissions at various levels.

“If this happens, it remains for the CEC to assess whether to accept their request after reviewing the legal deadlines,” Hoxha said.

The SP has begun preparations for local elections and is the only big party presenting its municipal candidates, with the determination that the elections will be held, despite the opposition's resignation.

On its side, the opposition is holding a series of protests, demanding early parliamentary elections organized by a caretaker government and Prime Minister Edi Rama’s resignation. 

Meanwhile, local observers are expressing concern over the upcoming preparations of the electoral process. The Coalition for Reform, Integration and Consolidated Institutions, (KRIIK), an experienced election observation organization, delivered a statement that the candidate registration process raises questions about the integrity of the upcoming election process. The Coalition called on the CEC to oversee the candidate registration process because there is uncertainty and lack of information.

 
                    [post_title] => Resigned opposition seeks right to propose commissioners in electoral administration 
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                    [post_date] => 2019-05-17 10:41:34
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-05-17 08:41:34
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 16 - Within this year’s fall, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy plans the signing of a concession contract for the Tirana-Durres highway which, among others, foresees the establishment of a pay toll.  

The news was reported by Minister Belinda Balluku, who says that the project for the highway has been handed over to investors, while their interest in an offer is being expected.

"I have recently been in contact with many foreign investors. The ministry has prepared separate requests for each project to find the right partnership, even from the point of view of the experiences that foreign investors have, but also from the point of view of the development interest they have in our country. So, the Tirana-Durres road has been handed over to some foreign investors who have shown interest as it is the main axis linking the capital to our international port. As it is well known, that highway touches Albania's industrial zone and not just Tirana or Durres. So, I believe investor interest, will be expressed soon too,” Balluku said.

Talk about turning the key highway into a road toll first began in November 2018, through a concession that would not damage state finances, but sharply increase travel costs for the country’s residents, already facing some of Europe’s highest fuel prices. 

As that particular offer didn’t pick up, the opportunity to turn the highway into another toll road was not forgotten. 

However, Balluku also said that all road projects intended to establish a pay toll will also offer an alternative road, which will be accessible free of charge.

“All the roads that will be considered to enter a paid concession project will constitute routes that will also offer an alternative. This means that citizens can use the alternative route free of charge. Also, what we intend in our pair-roads projects is for the builder or investor to undertake the rehabilitation of existing roads. This is a new element we are trying to put into new contracts and would normally be in favor of citizens and the Albanian state, of course,” Balluku said.

This demand comes after the problems caused by the Milot-Morina highway pay toll, where there is currently no alternative route offered and Kukes residents - some of the most impoverished in the country - are forced to pay, although reduced tariffs apply. 

Back in the summer of 2018, when the Milot-Morina highway road toll was first introduced, protests from area’s residents turned violent, temporarily suspending its operation. 

The re-introduction of the tolls was delayed for September to allow residents of Kosovo get to Albania at no extra fee during the summer and prevent a possible boycott from the country with the highest number of tourists to Albania. 
                    [post_title] => Plans to turn key Tirana-Durres highway into toll road resurfice 
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                    [post_date] => 2019-05-17 10:36:47
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 16 - The European Court of Human Rights fined Albania € 110 millions for the public statements of Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama against Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti back in 2015.

A number of local media sources reported the decision was taken a few days ago, while Syri.net has confirmed it from two independent sources, including the State Advocacy Office.

The bill, which constitutes a fatal blow to state finances, is the largest fine that Albania has ever received from an international court. This bill will be paid by Albanian citizens due to Prime Minister Edi Rama's statements in the media and social networks back in June 2015.

During that time, a few days after the Albanian prosecution seized the properties of the Italian businessman, namely Agon Channel, the prime minister publicly accused Beçhet of money laundering.

In his Twitter statement, Rama, responding to the opposition’s allegations, linked the seizure of the assets of Agon Channel TV with politics’ decriminalization from criminal elements.  'Decriminalization, the fig leaf that drops and exposes the Democratic Party when crime is targeted. Blocking the source of dirty money that fed Agon Channel, a success,” Rama wrote in his personal twitter in 2015. 

Following these statements, Francesco Becchetti sued Albania at the Arbitration Tribunal in Strasbourg, claiming that Rama's public statements violated his presumption of innocence.

The suit claimed by Becchetti was filed at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg on October 21, 2015 and communicated to the Albanian government on January 12. At the same time, the Italian businessman also filed another lawsuit against Albania for unjust seizure, according to him, of Agon Channel television.

After a lengthy session, the court granted Becchetti the right, finding Rama and the Albanian government guilty, and condemning Albania with the bill of 110 million euros.

The bill equals the economic aid of three years that the government provides for all the poor in Albania. or as much as 1 percent of Albania's national production.

The well-known economist Pano Soko reacted on facebook concerning the news about the fine.

“If the Arbitration Court actually penalized Albania on the issue of shutting down the Agon Channel, as various sources of newspapers claim, then this is a legal condition that the Prime Minister should not only resign, not only a criminal proceeding should be opened for abuse of office at cost of the state budget, but his entire property should be sequestrated until the sum’s full liquidation.” 

 
                    [post_title] => European Court fines Albania €110 mln for PM’s comments 
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                    [post_date] => 2019-05-14 14:19:44
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-05-14 12:19:44
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 14 - Monday’s national anti-government protest took place as a march in front of “some of the institutions that Rama has stolen from Albanians,” opposition leader Lulzim Basha said before the protesters, who initially gathered in front of the government building.

Protesters first stopped in front of the General Police Directorate “towards the institution that only suppresses. We do not want a crime police,” said Basha.

The second stop was in front of the Parliament, “the place that should be the temple of democracy, with the message that we do not recognize an illegal parliament.” 

Then the demonstrators stood in front of the interior ministry “where rules a man not tied with the constitution and the law, but only the blind servilism and the service towards his boss.” 

The last stop was made in front of the Tirana Police Directorate “where our brothers and sisters are unjustly being held.”

Before beginning the march, Basha delivered a speech in the square in front of the government building, which two nights ago, on Saturday, turned into a scene of violent acts against state buildings, in the direction of which a big number of Molotov bombs was thrown. 

Monday's protest was preceded by a large number of statements by the US Embassy, ​​the diplomatic headquarters of the main European Union countries, the MEPs and the leaders of the main OSCE institutions, who asked Basha and  leader of the Socialist Movement for Integration Monika Kryemadhi to condemn the violence exercised during the Saturday protest.

In his speech, Basha highlighted the word “violence,” saying it is “Edi Rama's only response to free and fair votes.”

“Every Albanian knows we have come here as a result of state violence and that state violence is a result of electoral violence. Because that is the only way Rama knows to take and to keep power,” Basha said in front of his supporters, who did not even attempt to approach the police officers' fence in front of the Government building on Monday, only throwing firecrackers and smoke bombs at the direction of all the institutions where they stopped.

The situation became tense in front of the parliament, where a group of opposition supporters removed the metal fence position in front of the building, while the policemen there withdrew. 

For a few minutes, a large number of firecrackers and explosive substances were thrown toward them, but the police seemed instructed not to respond. 

The situation became more acute before the Tirana Police Directorate, where protesters also threw stones that broke some of the windows, and a single Molotov bomb. 

According to a police announcement, only one employee was injured by the explosives.

“Today we showed that there is no force on earth to stop us in our cause for free and fair elections. That there is no force to force us to sit and bargain and compromise with evil. Evil must go and open way for Albania to be like all Europe,” said Basha from the headquarters of the DP at the end of the protest march that lasted over two hours, despite the uninterrupted rain.

 
                    [post_title] => Albanian opposition marches in protest of “crime government”
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                    [post_date] => 2019-05-13 10:45:14
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 13 - On Sunday, Albanian President Ilir Meta participated in the official swearing-in ceremony of the new President of the Republic of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski.

After the oath ceremony, Meta was received in a special meeting by Pendarovski, whom he congratulated once again for the onset of duty.

During the meeting, Meta praised the successful completion of the presidential elections in North Macedonia, in a peaceful and democratic spirit in both rounds, as well as the messages and the attitude of Pendarovski during the campaign, even after the electoral process ended.

"I appreciate the position of the elected President for building a multiethnic society in northern Macedonia and where no population or community will feel discriminated against. In particular, I value the key role of Albanian political parties in the integration processes of North Macedonia, which was proved in these elections as well.”

Presidents Meta and Pendarovski stressed the importance of opening accession negotiations with the European Union of both countries as a powerful message for the European perspective of the entire region.

At the end of the meeting, the Head of State invited the new President of the Republic of North Macedonia for an official visit to Albania, at a convenient time.

 
                    [post_title] => President congratulates new North Macedonia President Stevo Pendarovski
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            [post_date] => 2019-05-20 11:51:07
            [post_date_gmt] => 2019-05-20 09:51:07
            [post_content] => TIRANA, May 20 - In Albania, the Central Election Commission approved among debates on Monday the registration of 6 candidacies for head of municipalities by the Democratic Conviction Party.

These candidates’ registration was surrounded by debate because according to the Democratic Party's representative at the CEC, but also according to independent experts, the Democratic Conviction did not meet the legal registration requirements for its candidates.

The Electoral Code provides that if there is a lack of signatures by residents of the area where the party competes, the party should have a parliamentary representative who holds the MP’s mandate for at least the last six months.

The Democratic Conviction has presented a certificate for one of the DP's deputies who joined its ranks, and has stated that it also has the support of another MP, Lefter Koka.

CEC Chairman Klement Zguri proposed again to ask the parliament to clarify the issued certificates but with a majority of votes this proposal was not accepted and the registration of candidates from the DC was voted, a party established a few weeks ago by a a group of former representatives of the Democratic Party, which has resigned from parliament. 

But while the 6 DC party candidates were admitted, one of them, Salvator Kaçaj, only a little later announced his resignation from running for the post. 

In a later announcement, Kacaj said he had understood his candidacy would be a facade that would assist the Rama government.

I can not serve as a facade of an attempt to return to Albania a one-party regime, mixed with crime. I am grateful to the people and the true friends that made me realize that what I had accepted to take part in was not a real race, but a farce serving Edi Rama's power,” Kacaj said.

At the close of his statement, Kaçaj said he would join the DP’s cause for the departure of the Rama government.

 
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