Is the Socialist Party conducting a witch hunt or simply removing a “criminal”?

Is the Socialist Party conducting a witch hunt or simply removing a “criminal”?

The Socialist Party for Structural Reform and Emigration, Koco Kokedhima, has been targeted in order to be removed from his post. He’s accused of causing divisions within the SP through his declarations. Kokedhima hands in his irrevocable resignation, but the SP convenes the National Assembly in a special meeting and discharges him

By Edison Kurani

The end of the year developments within the Socialist Party is being characterized by an iron hand approach against dissidents within the party.

This time, the target was the entrepreneur and media tycoon, Koco Kokedhima. Up until a few months ago, he was considered as the right hand man of PM Edi Rama. He considered Kokedhima as his adviser and offered him the mandate of MP and then that of the Secretary for the Structural Reform and Emigration.

But the “honeymoon” between them soon ended and it gave way to hate.

Now, Rama and Kokedhima seem to be sworn foes.

All of this was never publicly clarified as to why it has happened. Rama never said why he broke his relations with Kokedhima.

However, some say that this has happened due to allegations that Kokedhima is in the list of people related to crime. Kokedhima considers this accusation as a serious one, unacceptable and absurd.

A strong and sudden public accusation was made by the US ambassador to Albania, Donald Lu in a conversation with the public. He included Kokedhima among those that he considered as “criminal and corrupt politicians”.

“We bid farewell to a number of criminal and corrupt politicians, among them I can think of Xhelili, Frroku, Muhameti, Petraj, Ndoka and Kokedhima. We also have a couple who are facing criminal charges, Prenga and Rroshi, but as we’re talking, they’re facing trial”, said the head of the US diplomacy in Albania.

“I think that this is an extraordinary development, not only in legislation, but also a cultural one. The Albanian people are fed up with these corrupt officials and they will see a change”, Mr. Lu said.

The reaction by the former socialist MP, Koco Kokedhima was strong: He said that the declarations of the ambassador are untrue and that they are impacted by those people who lifted his mandate in the Constitutional Court.

In May 2016, Mr. Kokedhima had his MP mandate lifted by the Constitutional Court, as the opposition accused him of unlawfully benefiting from the state budget funds when he was an MP, namely Internet service contracts that his company had entered with state companies.

In later public appearances, Mr. Kokedhima didn’t cease from criticizing Rama and the developments in the SP. He says that a gap has been created between the citizens and the government and he calls for a reformation of the SP.

Meanwhile, he considers Mr. Rama’s stances, especially the ones against Greece as shallow and damaging for the relations between the two countries.

All of these precipitated today in the SP Assembly meeting. Kokedhima was discharged with 155 votes in favor and 3 against.

But the surprising thing relates to the fact that Kokedhima had earlier announced his irrevocable resignation.

He accused Rama and other socialist leaders of conspiring against him with the aim of eliminating his role, influence and his functions as an MP and party senior official.

Kokedhima said that he would continue to remain a member of the Assembly and that he would continue his movement within the SP, demanding its reformation.

But the vice chairman of the SP’s National Assembly, Taulant Balla said that Kokedhima is no longer an assembly member. What’s more, Mr. Balla says that “Kokedhima has been elected as member of the National Assembly in violation of the SP’s bylaws”.

Kokedhima was replaced by the former Interior minister, Stefan Cipa.

Kokedhima’s removal comes a few weeks after the SP was abandoned by MPs Ben Blushi and Mimoza Hafizi, who created LIBRA Party-The Equal List Party. /