Gov’t-opposition clash over National Theatre bill amendments

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 19, 2018 14:48

Gov’t-opposition clash over National Theatre bill amendments

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  • However, the amendments adopted today in the commission seem to actually open a mere formal contest and other companies that might be interested are in uneven conditions with the company ‘Fusha Shpk.’

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TIRANA, Sept. 19 – Albania’s Socialist majority in the Parliamentary Committee of Productive Activities voted on Tuesday for amendments in the law for the building of a new National Theatre building, opening a competition for the realization of this project as well as the development of the surrounding area, in the center of the capital.

However, the amendments adopted today in the commission seem to actually open a mere formal contest and other companies that might be interested are in uneven conditions with the company ‘Fusha Shpk.’

The previous version of the law provided for the new NT to be built by Fusha, which undertook construction of the new facility under the project of renowned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels in exchange for the possibility of building a high-rise complex in the area surrounding the theatre, which is mainly state-owned.

The projects’ submission deadline has been set at 30 days, a time which, according to experts contacted by VoA, is considered too little from the technical point of view for putting together a serious proposal, while ‘Fusha Shpk’ has one ready already.

Ingels himself has said the new NT building project has been under development since December 2016, in Top Channel’s Top Show.

In addition, Ingel’s project has been presented as if commissioned by ‘Fusha Shpk.’ However, in another instance, Ingels also said Prime Minister Edi Rama and Tirana’s Mayor Erion Veliaj were the ones to request the new building.

The proposed left-wing changes were presented today in the Productive Activities Committee in the framework of reviewing the decree of President Ilir Meta, who turned the Theatre law back after it was adopted in July, accompanied with a big number of remarks.

The commission voted against the president’s decree, but the Socialist MPs did not want the changes to pass at a second moment, instead choosing to amend the law within the context of reviewing the decree.

This method makes sure the latest changes don’t pass through the country’s president again, but rather automatically go into power.

The development was opposed by the country’s opposition, however the majority argued for all the past cases the opposition acted similarly when it was in power.

The meeting took place in complete chaos, amid fierce discussions between the parties. The essence of the proposed changes was not discussed, and the left, after the quick reading of all the articles, cast the to the vote, while almost all opposition MPs were standing to argue against the decision.

The Chairman of the Commission, Socialist MP Eduard Shalsi, chose to not even formally put each individual article on the vote, bypassing Article 8 directly to the last Article 11 of the draft law proposed by them, thus opening the way to send it immediately to parliament on Thursday.

The majority withdrew from the special bill proposed by the government after encountering objections from the European Commission, which in its letter to the Albanian authorities emphasized that it encouraged them “to pursue compliance with EU public procurement principles and provide non-discriminatory access to the market.”

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 19, 2018 14:48