Strong political debates in Albania for the change of symbols

Strong political debates in Albania for the change of symbols

Tirana, September 16, 2013

Albanian political class has been involved in strong debates due to the change of symbols by the new government. The opposition which up until yesterday was in government for 8 years in a row accuses the new majority of violating the Constitution.

What has happened and what does the Constitution say?

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The new government of the leader of the Socialist Party, Edi Rama, announced the new governing program, by making several changes which were declared as unacceptable by the opposition. The logo of the Republic which is officially used by institutions had been changed. Now it’s no longer an eagle with the shape that it has had up until today, but with a change which can be discerned through these photos that balkaneu.com brings to its readers.

Meanwhile, the yellow helmet which used to be on the right has lost the initial color and is now on the left.

In the meantime, in the first government meeting (photo) which took place on Sunday evening, the first decision of Prime Minister Edi Rama consisted on the change of the official symbol which is used by every public institution of the country.

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According to the decision, the portrait of the President of Republic is replaced by the portrait of the founder of the Albanian modern state, Ismail Qemali. The decision has been immediately implemented in the premises of the Council of Ministers, where the photo of the President of Republic, Bujar Nishani was removed and replaced by a portrait of Ismail Qemali.

Accusations of opposition

According to the Constitution, the President of Republic represents the unity of the people; therefore his official photo is put in all state institutions.

Former vice foreign minister in the right wing government, Kreshnik Çollaku says that he’s shocked by the act of the removal of the photo of the President of Republic.

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“I’m shocked and disappointed by the vulgarity of this act. A serious state consists on a serious form. In the protocol of every state, from the most civilized and developed ones to the tribe states, the photo of the head of the state, the President, is not absent. This photo is a symbol for every republic. The president represents the unity of the nation. By removing the photo of the president, Rama has threatened this symbol”, says Çollaku.

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Democrat MP, Mesila Doda also criticizes the change of symbols. She stops at the logo of the Republic. “We’re seeing a modified eagle, far from the official logo of the Albanian state. We see a helmet with a changed direction. This is nothing else, but a bad start of work of a new government, which breaks the law on the symbols of the Albanian state”.

For former Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, the change of symbols is “a disgraceful act of primitive hatred”. He cites article 86 of the Constitution, which says that “the President of Republic is the head of the state and represents the unity of the People” and comments:

“This is an ugly act of hatred which is openly against the Constitution of the country. This disgraceful act is not an honor, but a national disgrace for every Albanian from the founder of our Independence, Ismail Bey Vlora to the baby born today. This decision could have never been taken without the change of article 86, paragraph 1 of the Constitution.”

Mr. Berisha is far more critical with the new prime minister: “This prime minister, which with an unrestrained hatred inaugurates his new duty by violating the Constitution and its dispositions, is a grave national threat”.

How does Edi Rama Defend?

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In relation to the photo of the President, Mr. Rama had warned this during the electoral campaign. He had declared that as soon as he arrived in power, he would remove it. According to him, the official image of the country must not be a president, but an honored historical figure and here he chose Ismail Qemali, former prime minister of Albania who lifted the flag of Independence in Vlora on November 28, 1912.

As far as the official logo is concerned, Mr. Rama considered yesterday’s logo as a chaotic one and had declared that he would no longer use it, but he said that he would respect it officially:

“No program or official document of the government can bear any other logo except that of the Republic.

“No program or official document of the government can bear any other logo except that of the Republic. Meanwhile, in the logos of conferences, websites and non official letters, prime minister and ministers will use this eagle”, declared Mr. Rama. Rama also said that there will be a new bill for the change of state symbols, which will be sent for voting in parliament, where the left wing has the necessary majority to approve it without the votes of the opposition.

Meta, a catalyst?

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Speaker of parliament, Ilir Meta seems like a moderated politician and his party too. Mr. Meta has constantly launched public appeals for composure between the two conflicting political parties, DP and SP, by demanding their cooperation.

As far as the change of symbols is concerned, Mr. Meta said that the decision for the removal of the photo of the president is fair:

“The fact that it will be a founder of the Albanian state, such as Ismail Qemali, who is a message of unity, makes this decision fair”.

Mr. Meta also gave another message: “We must all preserve the ideals of the Albanian patriots, communists, nationalists of that time who overcame their differences for a greater interest, that of the freedom of the fatherland and social progress”. /ibna/