Civil disobedience begins

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 26, 2019 09:56

Civil disobedience begins

On Thursday, the opposition took over the country’s main roads, blocking the traffic in protest of the Socialist government, which it accuses of having captured the state through ballot buying and its close ties with corruption. With the next anti-national rally already scheduled, the opposition and its allies has officially announced it will boycott the upcoming local elections by not participating and keeping them from taking place altogether. The main opposition Democratic Party has stated the resigned opposition will not participate in any elections, or return to parliament, unless Prime Minister Edi Rama resigns, a caretaker government is established and preliminary elections take place.


Opposition announces new national anti-gov’t rally on May 11

Media sources reported on Monday the opposition’s upcoming national anti-government - the fourth protest on a national scale - rally will be held on May 11, in the evening, as per the Democratic Party’s leader Lulzim Basha proposal.

Meanwhile, concerning the weekly protests that have been taking place during every parliamentary session for almost two months now, the DP announced a different strategy by which it took the protests to the streets, blocking Tirana’s main roads this Thursday.

On April 18, the highest ranks of the biggest opposition party formalized the decision to boycott the local elections of June 30, conditioning participation only in Edi Rama’s resignation and the organization of a free and democratic electoral process.

“The Democratic Party will enter the elections only when the conditions for free and fair elections are guaranteed,” Basha said from the DP headquarters that day.

The Presidency and the then National Council have also decided to keep the elections from taking place without the opposition, yet Basha did not give details of how such a scenario would be implemented.

“The DP is committed to disabling any other electoral crime such as the 2017 elections,” Basha said.

Meanwhile, the Local Elections Committee postponed the deadline for party registration in local elections, but the SMI and DP did not register.

Head of DP: “new opposition party to join local elections is fake”

Former Democratic Party members and former members of its governing forums founded on Tuesday, on the last day of registration, the new Democratic Conviction (DC) party, which will participate in the upcoming, local elections.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the opposition’s resigned Democratic Party formally signed an agreement with its seven allies that foresees the boycott of the local elections.

The agreement also foresees that the opposition allies commit in sabotaging the elections altogether, as according to the DP they will be “fake elections.”

Meanwhile, Head of the DP Lulzim Basha said the new DC is a fake opposition party.

After a meeting on Tuesday, the DP's former number two Astrit Patozi and other names, former members of the ruling forums of this party, registered the newest opposition political force in the country which they named Democratic Conviction.

In a long Facebook post, Patozi, who appears to be the leading figure, explained that this party “was born out of the strong conviction of free citizens of this country for a new political project.”

“The DC is and will be a serious and completely independent offer, whenever there is elections in Albania,” wrote Patozi.

The DC was registered at the Central Election Commission to participate in the June 30th race on the last day of the legal deadline.

Meanwhile, several local media pointed out how the Tirana Court took only five hours to register and legalize the freshly-founded party, although the legal procedure takes considerably longer.

The creation and operation of political parties are regulated by the Law on Political Parties, which sets out some conditions to be met and verified by the court before registering a party.

A request must be submitted to the Tirana Court for registration, which must be signed by at least three thousand individuals, founding members of the party; the adopted party statute; and the chairman of the party, who is its legal representative.

The documentation must be subject to judicial review, which, besides verifying the fulfillment of the above conditions, must also verify whether the statute and other party documents are in accordance with the Constitution and the Laws, within 30 days after the request is submitted.

Part of the examination should also be the verification of the existence and the signature of the 3,000 founding members. The law stipulates that for each founding member there should be shown name, surname, personal identification number and place of residence, for which it offers the court a month’s time.

In addition to these media reports, political experts in Albania have independently criticized this development, calling the creation of this party “an attempt to create a fake opposition” which doesn’t help the government, mor the bring a solution to the country’s deadlock.

On the same day, the DP and its allies signed an agreement, where last week's decision no to participate in the local elections was reconfirmed.

According to the document, opposition parties “will be enrolled in elections only after the conditions for free and fair elections are created,” adding that “the only way to guarantee free and fair elections is the formation of a caretaker government which can prepare preliminary parliamentary elections,” but also “free and fair local elections.”

Basha only gave a brief comment on the establishment of the DC

“The genesis of the evil we have found ourselves in is dictated by the crime. There will therefore be no more fake choices, no fake parliament, nor will there be more fake governments, there will be no fake justice and of course there will be no fake opposition,” Basha said.

In Albania, other than the Socialist Movement for Integration, which has been part of the political arena since 2005, all other parties which were formed as branches of big parties have failed.


US Embassy urges participation in local elections

The US Embassy to Tirana said on Friday it urges any political representatives considering to run to register in the upcoming June 30 local elections.

Responding to the Voice of America regarding its stand on the local elections and the announced lack of participation by opposition parties, while the deadline for registration at the Central Election Commission is nearing, the Charge d’Affaires Leyla Moses-Ones brought to attention the statements of Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer during his visit in Tirana, who called on resigned parties to re-engage in the political process.

According to the US representatives, participation in the local elections is the best way for them to do this.

The embassy “welcomes open and energetic democratic competition through the ballot box. Albanian voters should have the opportunity to choose between a wide range of candidates that will truly represent them. We encourage anyone who intends to run to register,” Moses-Ones said.

At the same time, Moses-Ones congratulated the younger opposition candidates who have been swearing in as lawmakers after the united opposition decided to resign its parliamentary mandates, calling their steps towards formalizing their presence as the new opposition MPs as constructive.

“This continuation of parliamentary processes - including the introduction of new MPs, development of debates and the adoption of laws - is a sign of the continuity and stability of this important democratic institution,” she said.


Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 26, 2019 09:56