Former Communist Minister Gramoz Ruçi Elected Speaker of Parliament

Former Minister of Interior Affairs of the communist dictatorship and chairman of the Party of Labor in Tepelena Gramoz Ruçi has been elected Speaker of Parliament yesterday during an extraordinary session at the opening of the political year.

During the parliamentary vote Ruçi received 80 votes in favor, 74 from the PS, 3 from the PDIU, 1 from the PSD (Tom Doshi), and 2 “other” votes. As the LSI boycotted the vote, and the PD allegedly voted en bloc against, these number led to consternation among the opposition.

Several PD politicians spoke about the “manipulation” or “theft” of the votes, while it remains unclear who cast the two additional votes. Ruçi’s election was met with protests outside Parliament and inside the ruins of political prison camp Spaç.

After the vote, Prime Minister Edi Rama sent a request to President Ilir Meta confirm his new cabinet.

It appears that as a result of the publicly expressed concern by EU Ambassador Romana Vlahutin about the dissolution of the Ministry of Integration, Prime Minister Rama has decided to rename the Ministry of Foreign Affairs into the “Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.” It is as yet unclear what the precise mandate of this new “Ministry of Europe” will be.