Albania PM fuels rumors that justice reform aims to hit his political adversaries

Albanian Socialist PM Edi Rama

Tirana, Albania | Tirana Echo – Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama has fueled local media rumors after his statement last night on Vizion Plus TV that justice reform could be used to imprison high level politicians including his center-left coalition ally Ilir Meta and former PM Sali Berisha.

Asked by journalist Rudina Xhunga if justice reform was seen as a way to put Berisha or Meta in prison, Rama replied that “justice reform is not only aimed at ordinary people, but also judges, prosecutors and corrupt politicians“.

Albanians have every right to think that at the end there will be a price for those who do harm in this country. Not ordinary people should be punished. But also some judges, prosecutors and corrupt politicians. They are right to want this.” – said Rama last night.

Although no names were mentioned, Rama’s answer has fueled media allegations that the socialist PM of Albania sees the current reform of the country’s highly corrupt justice system as a way to ensure hitting back at his political adversaries.

This has been one of the main accusations of opposition democratic party which is currently boycotting parliament and demanding Rama’s resignation as well as a technical government which will ensure free and fair elections in June.

Asked if he referred to former PM Berisha and his coalition junior partner Speaker of Parliament Meta, the prime minister replied: “I did not mention names. We are in a coalition to take forward the reforms, and we will not be stopped.

Local Albanian media outlets are interpreting Rama’s evasive answer as a threatening strategy geared towards his coalition ally Ilir Meta who chairs the Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI).

Meta has not yet committed to another 4 years of center-left coalition with socialist Rama and has said there cannot be elections without the opposition, conditioning any future coalition deal on guarantees for free and fair elections.

Rama’s comments come at a high tension period for Albania’s political life, with the country’s opposition parties claiming that the so called ‘Vetting’ process which is to scan the country’s judges and prosecutors has been designed to serve Rama’s interests.

However, the PM insists that the vetting process and the entire justice reform has been designed by EU and US experts, but the opposition fears its consequences and has decided to block parliament and the country’s upcoming June elections.

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