Members of the opposition Democratic Party piled chairs in the middle of the chamber and lit smoke candles when Edi Rama Prime Minister arrived and sat down to vote on next year’s budget. Bodyguards prevented the opposition representatives from getting close to the cabinet members.
The ruling Socialist Party (PS), which sent 74 representatives to the 140-member legislature, closed the session in 5 minutes in a quick vote. The various budget items are expected to be discussed later.
One of the lit smoke candles caused a small fire, which was extinguished by the opposition representatives.
The opposition wants to set up a parliamentary committee to investigate the alleged corruption cases of Edi Rama and other senior government officials. However, the socialists believe that the formation of the mentioned commission would not meet the constitutional conditions.
Gazmend Bardhi opposition representative stated:
we are fighting to show that the parliament does not represent the interests of the Albanians.
Bledar Cuci the Minister of the Interior, the parliamentary faction leader of the Socialists, however, argued that the Tirana government is preparing to adopt the largest budget to date, which is twice the 2013 budget adopted when the Socialist leadership came to power.
In a democracy, the opposition communicates with alternatives, not smoke candles
said the politician.
The crackdown began in October, two days after he was accused of corruption Sali Berisha former prime minister, the chairman of the Democratic Party in connection with a land purchase program. The case is currently being investigated by the Tirana Prosecutor’s Office.
Prosecutors also accused the 79-year-old Berisha of illegally obtaining benefits for his son-in-law. However, the former prime minister claims that the attack launched against him is politically motivated, and Prime Minister Edi Rama is behind it.
Cover photo: Representatives of the opposition Democratic Party of Albania throw a smoke bomb in the Tirana parliament session hall on November 20, 2023. The opposition representatives disrupted the session as a protest against the increasingly autocratic governance of the socialists. MTI/AP/Florian Abazi