One of the most important figures of the Socialist Movement for Integration, minister in several left wing governments and Member of Parliament of this party, Luan Rama comments the latest political developments in the country in this exclusive interview for Independent Balkan News Agency
The opposition will hold another protest on Tuesday. What are you planning to achieve through these protests?
Protests do not only belong to the opposition; they belong to the people. People not only have lost faith on the government, but they also feel disappointed, insulted and deceived. The objective is clear: to restore legitimacy and the integrity of the free vote in the country.
Do you consider the decision to give up parliamentary mandates to be a coherent decision? What further developments are you expecting to see?
The decision to resign from parliament is the only decision that we could take, because the opposition’s voice was constantly ignored in parliament and everywhere else. As a result of this, parliament is no longer legitimate.
Did this decision damage the opposition?
This is not the question for as long as the majority is damaging the European interests of the country and democracy.
How were these protests received by the Albanian public opinion and the international community? Let us not forget that European diplomats have called for the opposition to come back to parliament.
The massive participation in the protests showed what the Albanian public opinion thinks about this and their numbers will continue to grow until we finally get rid of this evil government. As far as the international community is concerned, I think that its position is unrealistic. The officials in question do not really have a good grasp of the Albanian reality. Of course, the European Parliament will hold elections in April and as a result, the declarations that MEPs make belong to a group of people who are soon leaving.
Do you think Rama’s position has been compromised following reports by international media for vote rigging in 2017?
According to ODIHR official reports, 20% of votes were bought. Meanwhile, according to investigators, there’s evidence showing that criminal gangs in cooperation with the government have been involved in vote buying! Is this not enough for the PM to resign?
Rama has also accused your party, SMI, for vote buying…
You might say that the majority is not the only one involved in vote buying and I cannot deny this, but today we have in front of us hard evidence accusing the government for this. I have heard the country’s Prime Minister launching accusations, but if he has proof for his accusations, then let him file criminal charges against SMI.
How do you see the future of the opposition’s protests?
Up until now, all the evidence and facts that exist are against the PM. He needs to realize the fact that people do not take to the streets just because the opposition invites them, but because they’re disappointed from this government which is still in power thanks to money coming from drugs and crime.