Analysis/Damage to an electricity pylon fuels a political debate in Albania

Analysis/Damage to an electricity pylon fuels a political debate in Albania

Unidentified people have blown up a power tower transmitting electricity from Tirana to Podgorica and Prizren, threatening power supply for the whole of the country. The Ministry of Interior has considered it a terrorist attack, while the government and SP have pointed their finger at the Democratic Party and Socialist Movement for Integration. The opposition dismisses all accusations, while the socialist whip, Balla draws a parallel between Gerdec, 21 January and the explosives in Thumana. Who is aggravating the situation in the country even more? Why is the government accusing the opposition of blowing up the electricity pylon?

Yesterday, the Albanian government released a statement laying blame on the opposition following the damage discovered by an OST employee on  a power tower in Kruja. OST’s workers near the village of Krasta, Thumana, Fushe-Kruje, noticed that one of the feet of the high voltage power line (400 KW), carrying electricity from Tirana to Pogradec and Prizren, had sustained damages caused by explosives.

Although the Minister of State for Relations with Parliament, who is also the government spokesperson, did not mention names, it was clear that she pointed her finger at the opposition. In a statement made yesterday, the minister said that the explosion has been incited by the same hand: “After 30 years filled with so many criminal events incited by the same hand, we all know who attacks electricity pylons out of desperation”, Spiropali said, warning: “All of your efforts are in vain, because you will not be able to send this country back to the past”.

Democratic Party says that it despises Edi Rama’s accusations
The Democratic Party has considered the government’s allusion that the incident has been incited by this party as unacceptable. According to this party, “such low accusations suggest the desperation state that Taulant [Balla] and Elisa [Spiropali] find themselves in”.

Meanwhile, they call on the authorities to identify the perpetrators of this act: “Edi Rama must immediately find out who’s behind this act”. According to the Democratic Party, these “diabolical accusations” are being made to incite hate and raise tension in the country.

On the other hand, the socialist whip was more direct in the accusations that he made: “The acts of violence which were ordered by Basha and Berisha aim at tarnishing Albania’s image”, Mr. Balla said.

Balla made his accusations even stronger when he said that DP and SMI are inciting violence everywhere: “It’s been days now that DP and SMI have launched an attack against the future of Albania. This is an all-out attack on the reform in justice and our European dream. If the path of violence that Basha has chosen had won, then it’s a sure thing that Albania would lose”, Mr. Balla said adding: “Those who killed demonstrators 8 years ago, those who caused Gerdec, want to come back to power through violence and explosives”.

Situation remains tense

Today’s statements made by government officials are considered to be quite hasty, because neither police, nor prosecution experts have issued any statements yet.  The politicization of this act is unacceptable, unless the government has information that the opposition is involved in this explosion. If this is the case, political statements are not enough. Authorities need to bring perpetrators before justice. For as long as there’s no clear evidence that this act was incited by the opposition, such declarations coming from two of the most senior officials of the ruling party, continue to keep tension high. Therefore, this situation needs maturity in order not to drive the state of the country chaos.