Albania – Smaller opposition ally LSI to join DP in quitting their parliamentary mandates

Monika Kryemadhi LSI Albania
Monika Kryemadhi during a press conference at the LSI headquarters

Tirana, Albania |  19 Feb 2019 (Tirana Echo) — The Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI) has confirmed it intends to follow its main opposition allies the Democratic Party, in giving up the parliamentary mandates of its parliamentary group, further deepening the political crisis in Albania.

During a press conference in the evening, LSI chairwoman Monika Kryemadhi said the parliamentary group had authorized her to take all necessary statutory steps which would culminate with the resignation of its 18 members from their parliamentary mandates, despite reported fierce debates during the closed-doors meeting.

Mrs. Kryemadhi said this was the only way to return the rule of law and the legitimacy of the government in Albania.

In full support of the political solution offered by the united opposition for a transitory government, and ready to take all necessary steps which guarantee free and fair elections as well as an open process of European integration for Albania, the LSI parliamentary group decided to give up their parliamentary mandates and has appointed the party chair to undertake all statutory steps in order to implement this decision,” said Kryemadhi during her press conference.

Kryemadhi, who this morning met with DP chair Lulzim Basha, appeared later on Ora News with a ‘mea culpa’, admitting her party was partly to be blamed for the current dire straits in Albania, given its former support for Edi Rama’s socialists, referring to the older SP-LSI coalition which governed Albania from 2013 to 2017.

Mrs. Kryemadhi took over the LSI chairmanship from her husband and founder Ilir Meta, who resigned following his election to become the country’s President in April 2017, thanks to the socialist votes of PM Rama.

Following a full mandate won by Rama’s Socialist Party (SP) in June 2017, the Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI) joined the Democratic Party (DP) in opposition, accusing the socialists of vote-buying and criminal links.

The unprecedented decision of LSI comes hours after Albania’s main opposition group the Democratic Party announced it will resign its 33 parliamentary mandates, asking for a transitory technical government which will take the small Balkan country into free and fair general elections.

As previously announced, and despite doubts of bluffing, Albania’s main opposition leader proposal to abandon their parliamentary mandates was approved by democratic MPs as well as its smaller allies, following a massive opposition protest which turned violent on Saturday.

This is the first time in Albania’s history that a political party abandons its parliamentary mandates, spiraling the small Balkan country into unknown constitutional and legal territory.

Albania hopes to formally start membership talks with the European Union later this year, and Rama’s socialists are keen to show some credible results in their reform of the highly corrupt justice system, which the opposition depicts as captured by the governing majority.

However, the US and EU backed justice reform has already expelled several judges and prosecutors through a vetting process and hopes the system will start to deliver its first results within this year.

Following the establishment of the crucial High Council of Justice (KLGJ) and the High Prosecutorial Council (KLP) last December, a special anti-corruption prosecutorial structure (SPAK) is expected to be erected in the following weeks which will be expected to investigate high level corruption and political links to organized crime which are highly pervasive in the small Balkan country.

European Union leaders agreed last June to start membership talks with Albania and Macedonia within 2019 if both small Balkan nations show substantial progress in their crucial rule of law reforms under way.

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