Albanian Decriminalization – Socialist MP on criminal list gives up his parliamentary mandate

Tirana, Albania | Tirana Echo – Socialist MP Armando Prenga has resigned from his parliamentary mandate, after ongoing clashes between prosecutor and central elections committee over his criminal past, further weakening the parliamentary group of the Socialist Party.

In a letter sent to Speaker of Parliament Ilir Meta, Prenga notifies the parliament of his withdrawal from his mandate arguing that the mandate of a member of parliament can also end when he or she decides to give it up.

“In the interest of my family, I declare that I withdraw from the mandate that voters and the Constitution have granted me. I consider all political accusations of the opposition and of those who are personally authorized by them, to be unjust and untrue” – said Prenga in his letter.

Armando Prenga has been one of the most articulated names by the opposition as one of several socialist MPs who have not declared their allegedly criminal past in the so called ‘decriminalization’ process which obliges all public officials in Albania to state any conflict of interest or past criminal offenses.

Last week, the General Prosecutor demanded the Central Elections Committee (CEC) to lift Prenga’s mandate who according to the prosecutor’s office had failed to declare a previous court verdict on fake documents as well as his criminal activity in Italy which range from falsifying documents, theft and using false identity, all confirmed by Italian authorities.

The CEC refuted the Prosecutor’s demand which prompted the latter to pursue the case further.

The departure of Prenga comes after huge political and public pressure and leaves the parliamentary group of Prime Minister Edi Rama’s socialists with one less MP.

In September 2015, Prenga who has represented the problematic town of Laç in parliament, was involved in an armed conflict where 7 people were wounded and ended up arrested and several months in prison. The Socialist Party expelled him from its ranks but in need of every single vote, kept him at bay in the Parliament.

Prenga’s mandate goes to the junior party of the governing coalition Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI) which is seen as the kingmaker in upcoming parliamentary elections of June.

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