Editorial: Crime, punishment and violence- this government’s days are done

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 21, 2019 09:05

Editorial: Crime, punishment and violence- this government’s days are done

Story Highlights

  • There are no guarantees in place for the safety and security of citizens, businesses and institutions. Albanians are pitted against Albanians in yet another absurd politician run drama.

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TIRANA TIMES EDITORIAL

There have been consecutive releases of wire tappings in batches from the German media Bild, demonstrating again and again that starting from the Prime Minister himself Edi Rama and down to former ministers, Damian Gjiknuri and Sajmir Tahiri, followed by respective area MPs such as Xhemal Qefalija and Pjerin Ndreu just to mention a few, everyone that matters in the Rilindje version of the Socialist Party was involved in communication with people who manipulated elections. The recently released intercepts reveal that in particular that the heads of police stations and officials from the Ministry of Interior Affairs and the regional Department of Education have been systematically instructed to exert pressure, use threats about employment and offer money in exchange for votes. The case in question is that of the Dibra local elections, which in the past had been a bastion of the DP and last time were curiously won by the SP with an incredible margin. It is exactly this margin and the methods used to acquire it that the criminals and the politicians are celebrating with boastfulness and crudity in these phone calls.

First of all it is now clear that this government is not legitimate anymore and has lost all credibility and morality. It should not stand. The Prime Minister should resign. The publication of these intercepts in any other normal democratic and responsible country would have brought the government down more than once. It has been showed with clarity that the electoral process has been deformed beyond any recognition.

Second, the stealth alliance between politics and organized crime need to be dismantled once and for all in order to avoid the cyclical crisis pattern that is not allowing Albania to take even the smallest step forward as a democracy, as a country that wants to join the EU and as a normal place where citizens can build functional lives.

A particularly sad thing to notice also in these communication is the banal language filled with obscenities that all these high ranking figures use in their phone calls. This kind of crude language has become a particular and revealing trademark of the alliance between the “Rilindje organization” (that has devoured the Socialist Party) and the organized crime syndicates. It is revelatory of the scary abyss where the values and role models have fallen.

The lack of legitimacy and the degree of crime that this intercepts have highlighted are not the only reason why this government should go. The last week has shown an alarming increase in the level of violence in almost all the municipalities of the country. The local institutions run by the opposition have acknowledged the presidential decree of annulling the elections and are taking steps to dismantle the electoral infrastructure. This has put them on a collision course with the state police. Confrontations have escalated into arson and beatings. Many arrests have been made. The situation is tense and ripe for more concerning clashes. There are no guarantees in place for the safety and security of citizens, businesses and institutions. Albanians are pitted against Albanians in yet another absurd politician run drama.

All stakeholders need to step back and reflect on the need to avoid violence including the international ones. The President of the Republic has taken a step to officially communicate with the OSCE-ODHIR mission in Albania about his decision to annul the elections exactly for the reason of avoiding confrontation and instability.  The OSCE presence in Albania is increasingly being evaluated as a partial and biased actor and that is irreparably damaging its credibility as a necessary referee of elections. They, alongside other international actors who seem oblivious to the coming deluge, should adjust their course as soon as possible.

A few days are left to take the right decision that would dissipate the tension and open the path to a necessary dialogue and solution. It can and it should start with a simple step. This government should take the responsibility to account for its wrongful and illegal actions.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 21, 2019 09:05