Gov’t to hold unexpected parliament session, opposition calls protest in response

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 26, 2019 16:10

Gov’t to hold unexpected parliament session, opposition calls protest in response

Story Highlights

  • Meanwhile the DP, which on Sunday announced it will be organizing anti-govt protests all over Albania, urged all its structures to mobilize protesters and organize a protest on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 4:30 pm, in front of the parliament.

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TIRANA, Feb. 26 - The parliament session that was postponed last Thursday due to the opposition’s protests in front of the parliament building, will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 5 pm, according to a public announcement.

This parliament session foresees the vote that will approve the organizational structures of the High Prosecutorial Council and the High Judicial Council - both justice reform bodies - that was to take place last Thursday.

Immediately after the announcement for the plenary session, reacted the chairman of the Democratic Party's resigned parliamentary group, Edi Paloka, who through social networks called it an “illegal meeting” of an “illegal parliament.”

“After they surrounded the building with barbed wire and blocked its entrance, they have begun gathering in secrecy. They are trying to call Thursday’s parliamentary session today at 5 pm. How long do you think they will last like this? Tik-tok,” Paloka said.

Meanwhile the DP, which on Sunday announced it will be organizing anti-govt protests all over Albania, urged all its structures to mobilize protesters and organize a protest on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 4:30 pm, in front of the parliament.

“Today at 17:00 there is a parliamentary session. Take measures for the maximum presence of the structure at 16:30 in front of the parliament,” is written in the message addressed to the DP structures.

According to political experts, parliament cannot take place earlier than 48 hours prior to the date that has been announced during the plenary session.

The second biggest opposition party - the Socialist Movement for Integration - responded to the DP call for protest and urged all its supporters to protest this evening in front of the parliament.

Albania’s opposition collectively gave up its parliamentary mandates last Thursday immediately after its second anti-government rally for that week, leaving only the majority in parliament.

Through its protest, the opposition demands Prime Minister Edi Rama’s resignation, the establishment of a caretaker government and early elections, as it blames the Socialist majority of buying off the last parliamentary elections with the money provided by criminal rings.

Recently, Rama’s government has faced serious allegations of having ties with crime and corruption after well-respected investigative media made a number of corruption scandals alleging the involvement of the government public.

First, news that the biggest part of the government tender to build part of the Great Ring road – a project already contradicted by the area’s citizens for violating their property rights – was awarded to a US offshore and its Albanian branch that had no legal or valid basis and was possibly supported by the Albanian government broke out.

Secondly, a VOA and BIRN piece revealed that important SP lawmakers and other officials are being currently under prosecutorial investigation for possibly participating in ballot buying with the help of the heads of criminal organizations in the country.

In addition to these scandals, during December, the Socialist government faced massive university student protests demanding an improved education system in the country by abolishing the SP’s educational reform, which they deemed unconstitutional.

The protests led Rama to completely reshuffle his government cabinet and replace his main ministers with fresh names – a choice widely criticized by independent experts, particularly as a number of Rama’s appointments either didn’t belong in the political sphere, or consisted of inexperienced, Kosovo nationals.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 26, 2019 16:10