The Rama government has secretly introduced the National Theater draft law to the Parliament for aapproval. What this means, is that the draft law was approved by all the ministers and the government. Now, the draft law will be discussed in the Media and Culture Committee.
With this move, the government has ended any possibility the artists or citizens might have had to revise the contents of the law, which outlines the destruction of the National Theater building, expropriation of public land, and the construction of commercial property and a new National Theater with a reduced footprint.
With a complete lack of transparency, neither the full text of the draft nor the accompanying report has been published in the parliament’s official website.
The draft law, under the title “Concerning the determination of the special procedure for the negotiation and signing the contract for ‘the design and realization of the urban project of the new building of the National Theater’,” calls for the establishment of a commission, headed by Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj, whose single role it is to negotiate, within 30 days, a contract with Fusha shpk:
Art. 5(1). The contract negotiation commission evaluates and negotiates with the private partner Fusha shpk the proposal presented by them and drafts the final draft contract negotiated by the parties […] within a deadline of 30 days after the establishment of the commission.
At the same time, the commission will receive full control over the public property on which Fusha will construct the National Theater and its multifunctional shopping center, primed to become the most expensive real estate in Tirana. At the same time, Fusha will be basically able to dictate every part of the contract:
Art. 7(1). The contract between the Albanian State and the private partner reflects the terms of reference of the proposal presented by Fusha shpk according to this law, which have been evaluated by the Negotiating Commission and are an inseparable part of that contract.
It should also be noted that the special law removes the legal competency of the Municipal Council of Tirana to approve or reject the expropriation of the public land it owns. The reason is obvious: the Socialist Party has no majority in the Council. According to art. 8, it will be the Council of Ministers that will officially approve the final contract.