Albania’s First Lady elected new SMI leader

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 7, 2017 10:01

Albania’s First Lady elected new SMI leader

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  • Albania's First Lady to lead country's third largest party

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TIRANA, July 6 – A convention of the Socialist Movement for Integration, Albania’s third largest party, has selected Monika Kryemadhi as the new party leader, becoming the first woman to take the helm of a major political party in Albania.

Kryemadhi did not have any rivals and the vote was open and almost unanimous.

She takes over from Petrit Vasili who resigned unexpectedly last week after only seven weeks in the party leadership. He had replaced party founder Ilir Meta, who resigned as requested by law as he is to become the country’s next president later this month.

Kryemadhi is Meta’s wife, however, she is a long-time politician on her own right and was already involved in politics when she married the former Socialist prime minister.

The Socialist Movement for Integration came in third with 19 seats, moving to the ranks of the opposition after eight years in power in successive DP- and SP-led governments in which SMI served as kingmaker. It had sought to become the top party.

In her first speech as party leader, Kryemadhi promised a strong opposition against former ally, Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama.

She said the power in Albania had been seized by oligarchs and crime.

“We will be a leading opposition force. We will be the ones who will bring the government of organized crime and vote buying to the scrap yard,” Kryemadhi said.

She apologized “for our part of the co-governance with the Renaissance of Edi Rama,” adding the party representatives had not been vocal enough when they saw bad governance from the Socialists. “We did this in the name of the word given to respect the agreement we had to govern together with the Socialists. This was our mistake that we did not react strongly … We did not raise our voice sufficiently when Albania was being given away through concessions.”

The new SMI leader promised an uncompromising opposition in parliament. She joined the same rhetoric used by the Democratic Party, the largest in opposition, accusing the Socialist Party of Prime Minister Edi Rama of vote-buying and exerting influence through cooperation with criminals and wealthy families, a charge that the Socialists deny.

“Our battle in the upcoming parliament will be exactly against this aberration that has taken the helm through crime and drugs. This time there will be zero tolerance against any corrupt practices and state favors for the oligarchs. In front of us is not a political opponent, but an opponent armed with crime, drugs and arrogance and corruption, ready to buy everything with the sole purpose of power and holding their power,” said Kryemadhi.


Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 7, 2017 10:01