Decriminalization, serious effort or electoral propaganda

Decriminalization, serious effort or electoral propaganda

Tirana, 4 June 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

Majority in Albania is seeing the opposition’s proposal for a decriminalization pact, as pure electoral propaganda ahead of the June 21 elections.

In the recent days,  Democratic Party has proposed to the majority to sign a pact between political parties in order to verify the candidates that race for the June 21 elections in the framework of decriminalization and the removal of those candidates with criminal records.

Democrat MP, Oerd Bylykbashi, senior DP official from the largest party of the opposition, said that “for two weeks, the majority has kept quiet and has not issued a reply for the proposal submitted by the Democratic Party.

“The Democratic Party calls on PM Edi Rama and the majority to show their political will in order to remove persons with criminal records from the June 21 election lists and to sign without any further delay this political pact which will give way to its immediate application”, Mr. Bylykbashi said.

The appeal of the opposition comes a few days after it decided to unregister from the electoral race its candidate for the municipality of Kelcyre.

SMI-SP, Meta and Balla have similar stances

Speaker of parliament, Ilir Meta is one of the two main state leaders to which the opposition has publicly demanded the signing of the agreement.

But Meta says that he has not received such request in his office.

“I am not aware of any proposal of such nature. I saw something on the media yesterday among other news, but this has been our stance and it will remain like this”, Meta reacted.

But will Meta and the party that he leads vote this contract for decriminalization?

The speaker of Parliament says that “we’re always open for every incentive that improves the standards of public representation in our country in a legal way”, but suggests that “they cannot be made in a selective manner and no double standards must be used”.

For Mr. Meta, the invitation of the opposition is electoral propaganda. “This process cannot be depreciated through media or propaganda like incentives which serve political purposes”, Meta suggests.

Meta says that if amendments must be made in the law, the majority is open to this. Meanwhile, he says that opposition’s proposal is welcome to be implemented in the future. “Starting from this moment, we’re open for every legal incentive which would serve to a serious, credible and legal process with integrity”.

On the other hand, the Socialist Party has not commented the opposition’s proposal. In the recent hours alone, a senior socialist official commented the democrat appeal.

The vice chairman of the socialist parliamentary group, Taulant Balla, said that the democrat incentive is an effort to divert, according to him, the attention from the refusal recently made to the left’s proposal for this purpose.

Balla IBNA

Mr. Balla recalls the fact that one day prior to the expiry date for the registration of candidates at the Central Election Commission, the majority expressed its readiness to make changes in the law, to make the past of every public representative transparent.

Balla says that no consensus was reached with the opposition. “In the session when the best draft was officially proposed, the DP didn’t want to vote or participate in the session. All of what follows are an effort of the DP to escape to the solution of this problem, which consisted on the voting of the draft in parliament. This draft includes all the issues proposed so far.”

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But what are the opposition’s proposals?

The four points of the agreement include the checks on the existence of serious criminal records for those candidates who have been registered for the June 21 elections, should one of the political parties that signs the pact, demand such thing.

The second point sanctions the use of finger prints for every case, with the aim of fully and accurately checking the criminal records.

The third point demands an immediate withdrawal from the race of those candidates that result to have serious criminal records or refuse to have their information checked.

In the fourth point, the Democratic Party insists that decriminalization is above all a political will and that it is never too late to win this battle. /ibna/