Tirana, 24 March 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Edison Kurani
The Central Election Commission in Albania has rejected by a majority of votes three requests for referendum in relation to several projects planned by the Municipality of Tirana.
The requests had had been submitted by several members of civil society and were backed by the Democratic Party in opposition.
The projects in question are: an underground parking lot in “Rinia” park, the entry of the Artificial Lake and the children playing ground inside of it.
As far as the construction of the parking lot is concerned, the majority of CEC members voted against with the argument that this issue was not of a special importance.
Meanwhile, as far as the two other projects are concerned, they said that they are of a national importance, but the initiators had demanded a local referendum.
The head of the Environment Department at the Democratic Party, Jamarber Malltezi, told IBNA that CEC decided not to heed the voice of the citizens in a local referendum, although five laws have been violated.
“Unfortunately, the sovereignty of the citizens has been given on concessionary terms to Edi Rama’s and Ilir Meta’s clients. CEC’s decision has its roots in the concrete machines belonging to the clients of Edi Rama and Ilir Meta who come in the park to throw cement every day”, he says.
According to Malltezi, “for the government’s representatives in the CEC, our lungs are not an important issue worthy of a referendum”.
“For the government’s representatives at the CEC, their party’s membership is more important than Tirana and the lungs of our children”, says Malltezi, by adding: “Here we have a breach of at least 5 laws and everyone pretends that nothing has happened. This is a disgrace and unimaginable.”
Mr. Malltezi considers the fact that CEC considered the referendum for the construction of a playing ground in a green area not important, as unacceptable.
“Unfortunately, it was not considered an important issue. But World Health Organization says that each year, 500 citizens in Tirana die from diseases that relate to the quality of air. Those to whom their party’s membership is more important than Albania, say to these 500 people that ‘this is not an issue of special importance’”.
Meanwhile, the head of the DP councilors at the Municipality of Tirana, Leonard Olli told IBNA that “resistance to defend the lungs of Tirana will continue to the end”.
“To insert tens of concrete machines in the area of the Artificial Lake of Tirana, to pollute the environment, to cement the only green area of the capital, is a great paradox”, he says.
On the other hand, the citizens have backed the incentives not to allow any constructions at the hills of the Artificial Lake.
Many people stay there every day in an effort to prevent work. However, construction continues intensively.
The mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj says that the new park will be opened on 1 June 2016.
Meanwhile, the government doesn’t issue any comments on the referendums and their overthrow. But, the National Agency of Environment, an office which depends on the ministry of Environment, responded today to a request submitted by members of the public to be informed if the municipality had received an environmental permit for the construction of the playing ground.
This agency said that there has been no application for environmental procedures for the construction of the playing ground at the Artificial Lake Park. /ibna/