Mogherini and Hahn Put Pressure on the Albanian Opposition PartyRegion | April 13, 2017, Thursday @ 10:32| 244 views
Federica Mogherini Photo: MIA/Printscreen
European Union diplomatic high representative Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn issued a joint statement calling on the Albanian opposition Democratic Party to participate in the elections scheduled for June 18th. The Democrats refused to take part, saying that the ruling Socialist Party will rig the vote, and called on the example of Macedonia, in which a broader technical Government was formed to placate the opposition into participating in the elections.
"We regret the parliamentary boycott in Albania and that the opposition has not yet registered to participate in the elections. The political debate should not take place outside, but inside the parliament according to democratic practice. Citizens deserve responsible leadership. We once again urge all political leaders to act responsibly, with respect for institutions, and pave the way for democratic elections, in line with international standards", Mogherini and Hahn said.
The Democratic Party did not submit lists of candidates and is boycotting Parliament. Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama seems determined to go to the polls even without the main opposition party, and despite an announcement by his junior coalition partner Ilir Meta that he too may boycott the vote. Democratic leader Lulzim Basha said that a major reason for his boycott of the elections is the interference of foreign diplomats in Tirana on behalf of the Socialists, and their joint push for a judicial reform which, the Democrats believe, will allow the Socialists to stack the courts with their supporters. In their statement, Mogherini and Hahn again called on the Democratic Party to agree to the judicial reforms.
"More specifically, the much needed justice reform in Albania has once again come under attack. We call on all parties to complete the formation of the vetting institutions. Attacking the judicial reform rather than ensuring implementation of vetting, with close monitoring of the International Monitoring Operation, harms Albania's present and future. We expect that Members of the Parliament will show responsibility, capacity to act within the democratic legitimate institutional framework, and that they stand by the people of Albania, who continue to demand that the vetting is launched and the judiciary eventually reformed, also as a crucial step for the country to join the European Union", the statement adds.