Tirana, 18 December 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Edison Kurani
Albanian Parliament has finally passed the much debated bill on decriminalization. As it rarely happens, majority and opposition joined 131 votes in the 140 seat parliament, by voting in favor of this bill, which is considered to be the sternest one in Europe and which aims at preventing the penetration of criminals into politics.
Earlier, parliament also approved the constitutional amendments that the President of Republic, Bujar Nishani decreed at once.
But even this time objections were present. The majority turned down the amendment of the democrat MP, Oerd Bylykbashi on the drug test, and also the amendments proposed by Mesila Doda MP and the leader of PDIU, Shpetim Idrizi.
Under one of the articles of this legal package, the official of the public institution and those people who are affected by the law, are given three months from the moment that the law is enacted, to verify their criminal records.
Prompt reactions by the international community
US embassy to Tirana and the EU delegation immediately praised this step taken by the Albanian parliament. “The US embassy welcomes the courageous decision of the Albanian parliament for the approval of the bill on decriminalization. This bill is the sternest in Europe against criminals in politics”, the embassy says.
According to the embassy, this bill was a product of the intensive work of the majority and opposition and that at the end of the day, this is a victory for the Albanian people, who don’t want incriminated governance and who want to put an end to corruption.
However, the USA say that “there’s still much to be done in the fight of Albania against crime and corruption”, adding that “this bill represents an important step to crack down on the influence of criminal elements in the country”.
Meanwhile, the EU delegation hopes that “this bill will strengthen rule of law and will improve the integrity of those who are elected, it will strengthen fight against corruption and increase the trust of the citizens on the state and state institutions”.
According to the EU delegation in Tirana, “the approval of this piece of legislation shows that constructive dialogue between political parties is the best way to address other reforms which are necessary for the country”.
Meanwhile, the EU calls on all political parties in Albania “to engage in constructive dialogue to address all other important and delicate challenges in Albania, and above all, the one relating to the reform in the justice system”. The EU says that “progress in the agenda of reforms is decisive to take the country forward in the path of European integration”.
Meanwhile, in a letter that the rapporteur for Albania at the European Parliament, Knut Fleckenstein and Eduard Kukan MEP addressed to PM Edi Rama and opposition leader, Lulzim Basha, say that “the political will of the largest party in Albania in this process, will have a historical impact in the Albanian politics”.
They remind to Rama and Basha the fact that “your support and contribution will be crucial in the quick and efficient implementation of this law”.
While parliament voted this bill, a young female MP, took her oath after the departure of Mark Frroku, who is accused of murder in Belgium.
In the past two years, at least 30 MPs have left parliament, mainly due to resignations. A part of them have been accused of being involved in criminal affairs.
This can be considered as the parliament with the highest number of criminal elements in the past 25 years. Some say that this parliament has at least another 17 MPs with criminal records. /ibna/