Albanian opposition says that 19 out of 83 majority MPs have criminal convictions

Albanian opposition says that 19 out of 83 majority MPs have criminal convictions

The PM considers the accusations of the opposition as libeling, he files criminal charges against the head of the DP Parliamentary Group, Edi Pakola and the General Secretary of DP, Arben Ristani

Tirana, January 9, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

In Albania, the recent hours have seen an intensification of accusations between majority and opposition over those politicians with criminal convictions.

The leader of opposition, Lulzim Basha has come out today for the first time with concrete figures over the accusations addressed so far on MPs with a criminal past.

Mr. Basha said that 19 out of 83 MPs of the majority have criminal convictions. The democrat leader said that he takes full responsibility about this figure and he accused Rama as promoter of crime.

“I take full political and moral responsibility in front of the country to accuse today the prime minister of the country as the biggest promoter of crime in public institutions, in the history of the country. I am aware of the seriousness of the accusations, but we cannot conceal the truth and we want to be honest with our people. 19 out of 83 MPs of the majority have a criminal background”, says Mr. Basha.

“In the history of world parliamentarism, there’s not even a single case when a leader of majority or minority, has a list of MPs where 25% have criminal convictions. This majority stands on its feet with the votes of crime”, said Basha.

Basha said that “Association with crime has been made with full will by the accused (Rama) and has a high cost for the morale, heritage, values, interests and national security”.

The leader of the opposition said that the aim now is “to free the country, politics and Albanian public services from crime”.

Retorts do not stop

As far as the DP accusations toward majority MPs are concerned, according to which there are even MPs convicted of murder outside Albania, Mr. Rama has declared that before running for MP, the nominees have presented certificates issued by the Albanian prosecution.

This prosecution has no legal obligation to also inform on convictions or criminal prosecutions abroad.

Mr. Basha comments on the declaration of Mr. Rama by saying “I didn’t know that they were criminals-says the PM-because they brought me their penal certificate”, says Mr. Basha quoting the leader of SP. Meanwhile, he addresses a question: “Is it possible for the most informed institutions of the country, such as political parties and their leaders, to select MPs in such a superficial way?!”

In this point, Mr. Basha launches a challenge for the PM: “If Mr. Rama has regrets about MPs with criminal records, traffickers of prostitution and drugs, why doesn’t he withdraw his political support for them and expel them from the parliamentary group?”

Basha also comments Rama’s declaration that if the accusation of the opposition is proven, he resigns, a challenge that he has launched two or three times during a year and four months in government.

“Nobody will accept your bluff about the resignation. Resignation is an act of honor and values. But this is not the case for such expectations. A politician with values would not depend so much by cooperation with crime”.

The government presses charges

The PM has considered the accusations of the opposition as libeling, therefore he has filed criminal charges against the head of the DP parliamentary group, Edi Paloka and the General Secretary of DP, Arben Ristani.

“They must prove in front of prosecutors and judges the accusations that they’ve launched. Albania cannot have a prime minister connected with crime, in whatever form. Albanians deserve full transparency for whatever they’ve heard by the highest DP officials”, says the Prime Minister’s press office.

Mr. Rama says that he assures “everyone that a single proof of this nature is enough for him to leave his post and politics and be at the disposal of justice”. But, on the other hand, the Prime Minister of Albania says that he’s “determined to continue with legal means against this dangerous politics that aims the decriminalization of politics in the eyes of Albanians and even worse, it aims at using crime for dark and threatening interests for society”.

These charges were commented today by Basha. He criticizes the government plans for criminal prosecution against opposition leaders: “Pressure with criminal charges against opposition is a mob like strategy and it’s silent pressure”, says Mr. Basha. He adds that “crime and its friends in politics will not intimidate this nation”. /ibna/