Albanian opposition, the dilemma to bring back the “institution” of boycott

Albanian opposition, the dilemma to bring back the “institution” of boycott

Tirana, February 26, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

In these 23 years, political pluralism in Albania has been permanently followed by what may be considered as the institution of boycott.

Sometimes the left wing, sometimes the right wing and sometimes a number of political parties of all sides, have conducted an institutional boycott, often causing delays in the reforming and integrating processes of the country which has been dreaming for decades to become part of the European Union.

The last boycott was one of the longest ones of the pluralist history, that of the left wing opposition led by the chairman of the Socialist Party, Edi Rama.

When Rama was in opposition, boycott continued for several years, thus becoming an obstacle for the process of EU integration.

Now that the left is back in power, the right wing opposition is trying to reinstate permanent boycott.

The democrat leader, Lulzim Basha doesn’t have any history of boycott as he arrived at the DP just before this party came into power in 2005.

But, the past of the Democratic Party is a history of boycott and in almost all the cases of boycott, the left wing and the right wing have been concerned about the results of the elections and electoral laws.

A debate has sparked in the recent days over the possibility of return to parliamentary boycott.

The opposition seems to be under too much pressure.

On one hand, the past filled of parliamentary boycott of the DP has left a bitter taste.

Meanwhile, when it was in power, DP strongly criticized the boycott that the SP and Rama made to parliament and many other institutions.

On the other hand, international diplomacy is tired of the boycott. It has constantly condemned every attempt for boycott and has considered every boycott of institutions as unacceptable.

Amid these dilemmas, the leader of opposition is expected to decide on Thursday (27.02) its positioning toward parliament.

Basha’s decision will be announced on the same day when speaker of parliament, Ilir Meta has called for parliament to gather in a session.

The opposition says that it will review its positioning toward parliament, as according to it, there have been a number of breaches with the regulation and Constitution by the left wing.

For this reason, yesterday, the heads of opposition parties gathered to discuss about a joint action, stressing that they cannot continue to be part of a parliament which functions by breaching laws.

“We’re coordinating our opposition action with our allies , due to the unprecedented breach of the Constitution, laws, parliamentary regulation and due to an unlawful and anti-constitutional behavior of this majority which not only blocked the EU candidate status, but it’s also putting in danger the European aspiration of the country”, said Mr. Basha following the meeting of the opposition.

Basha also warns fresh protests. “Albania in protest” is not an invention of the opposition, but it relates to the state of Albania and Albanians today. It’s not just opposition against the government, but more than this. It’s a decisive confrontation that aims to protect democracy and the daily bread of thousands and thousands of people”, says Basha.

The former minister of Environment and head of the Republican Party, Fatmir Mediu also talks about the possible boycott.

“Altogether, we will decide as to what the action will be, within parliament or outside parliament. What we won’t accept is to continue and be part of a parliament which doesn’t function according to the law and rules”.

Political situation in the country was aggravated as parliament, upon the request of the government, decided to vote without the votes of the opposition, the discharge of the chairwoman of the High Inspectorate for the Declaration of Assets, Zana Xhuka, appointed at this post when the right wing was in power.

Former prime minister Sali Berisha accused his successor, Edi Rama for revenge, as Xhuka had demanded to look into suspicions for the construction of a building which the right wing believes it has been made in an abusive way and through corruptive affairs.

Prime minister Edi Rama has not reacted about the possibility of opposition boycott.

The government has expressed its opinion through the Minister for Relations with Parliament, Ilirjan Celibashi. He said that the departure of the opposition from parliament is not desirable.

“The boycott against the parliament’s action is not a desired and fruitful solution, nevertheless, the decision is theirs”.

The opposition boycotted yesterday the meeting of the Conference of Chairmen in Parliament. The head of the democrat parliamentary group, Edi Paloka said that the Xhuka’s discharge was an anti-constitutional act.

Paloka informed parliament that the opposition wants the return of constitutionalism in parliament and that this is achieved by annulling Xhuka’s discharge.

As far as this issue is concerned, the speaker of parliament, Ilir Meta said that the majority has done the maximum to show its tolerance toward the opposition.

The speaker of parliament also explains the causes why the majority discharged Xhuka. “We were facing an unprecedented situation where the staff of the Inspectorate accused the head of the institution, Zana Xhuka for breaching the law and for politically using this institution”, said Meta. According to him, the accusations of the personnel were open, through public petitions addressed to the president, speaker of parliament, prime minister, other institutions and media.

“And what’s most important is that the head of this institution, which depends on parliament and which has been elected by parliament boycotts parliament. She cuts all communication with parliament and this led to parliament to launch a procedure of verification based on this serious public concern”, says Mr. Meta, who explains the reason for the discharge of Zana Xhuka. /ibna/