Faced with numerous scandals during his term as Prime Minister, Edi Rama has consistently taken the side of his favorites, even following the revelation of evidence of their criminal pasts.
Instead of apologizing to citizens for nominating crime-affiliated MPs and mayors, or even resigning, Edi Rama always chose to criticize the opposition and the media of slander and baseless accusations.
In a June 2016 post following the publication of Elvis Rroshi’s conviction, at the time mayor of Kavaja, went after the opposition and expressed admiration for Rroshi, instead of publicly apologizing to the citizens for supporting a criminal:
I believe, and always will believe, that treating a person as a criminal for things he did not do, is criminal in itself. It was criminal yesterday, and it remains criminal today and always, every slander, every accusation, every fabrication that aims to criminalize a person because of his office. Elvis Rroshi included!
In August 2016, responding to the opposition’s accusations against the international drug trafficking of the brother of MP Fatmir Xhafaj, then head of the Justice Reform committee, Rama called Agron Xhafaj “a man who lives off his honest work”:
Sali [Berisha, former Prime Minister and PD leader] has undertaken his next sordid campaign, to throw mud on Fatmir Xhafaj! And in his old and revolting Soviet fashion, he has raised an accusation on an entirely fabricated story about Fatmir’s brother. A story of Venezuelan drugs, about the father of two children who minds his honest business and is only guilty of one thing: being the brother of the head of the Parliamentary Committee for the most important and difficult reform of the last 25 years!
Similarly, in the case of former Minister of the Interior Saimir Tahiri, even in the face of evidence documenting the connection between Tahiri and the Habilaj brothers’ international drug trafficking organization, Rama held the same position: that of protecting the high official with criminal ties and never accepting any responsibility for sponsoring and promoting the latter’s political career.
Two days ago, Rama stated:
What I know is: [the Prosecution of] Catania has investigated a criminal group and during the investigation there has been discussion among the organization’s members in which the Interior Minister has been mentioned. To date, the Prosecution of Catania has not made any attempts at Tahiri. You can’t say “let’s put him in prison and then we’ll see,” without having any evidence.