Punchy Prenga, A History of Violence

Until he handed in his mandate yesterday, Armando Prenga had been elected twice as Deputy for the County of Lezha, representing Edi Rama’s Socialist Party (PS). Even though during his eight years in Parliament he has not even once held a speech, he has been well known to the public. His reputation didn’t relate to his assistance to those who voted for him, or for the public good, but for his violence both in- and outside Parliament.

In two cases Prenga has physically assaulted his colleagues from the opposition. One time punching Edi Paloka, and another lashing out to Gent Strazimiri with his leather belt. Both incidents happened inside Parliament.

While the opposition has for years been accusing him of a criminal past, he has come into conflict with the law also while in Parliament.

In September 2015, Prenga was arrested by the police after an armed conflict with the Çali clan. The Prosecution accused him of wounding one of the Çali clan members. The High Court, however, released Prenga. Hiding from his colleagues and the media, Prenga snuck into Parliament to vote for one of the judicial reform laws, allowing him just in time to keep his mandate after nearly 6 months of absence from Parliament.

Ever since passing the decriminalization law, Prenga has been on the top of the Democratic Party’s “wanted” list. The General Prosecution started to investigate him based on information gathered from several European court, and uncovered a multitude of false names used by Prenga in the past. The Prosecution also discovered that on his self-declaration form he had failed to mention a conviction of the Court of Kurbin for the falsification of documents.

The General Prosecution demanded the removal of his mandate, a request which the Central Election Commission (KQZ) failed to honor. The KQZ argued that it needed “additional information,” while the Prosecution opened a criminal investigation into the KQZ, claiming it had hidden part of Prenga’s self-declaration form from the Prosecution.

Prenga’s “voluntary” withdrawal from his mandate has, for now, solved the institutional conflict between KQZ and General Prosecution, even though it has clearly shown that, ahead of the elections, the KQZ is certainly not the apolitical institution it is supposed to be.