Prime Minister Edi Rama and Socialist leaders have immediately reacted to the opposition’s proposal to vet politicians. Ironically, their critiques and accusations today are the same as the ones voiced three years ago, when the opposition proposed a decriminalization law. Today it is clear that, although Rama and the Socialist majority control all of the country’s institutions and powers, the opposition not only managed to pass the decriminalization law, but its results have been impressive:
6 MPs were dismissed; 3 resigned; another 12 were investigated, though investigations were interrupted after their terms ended and they chose not to run again; 18 MP candidates withdrew before the elections; one mayor resigned and three others are being investigated; 5 judges resigned; 45 high officials and 110 low officials were dismissed; 35 municipal council members were dismissed and 21 resigned.
It is hard to predict the fate of the politician vetting proposal at this time, however one thing is clear: Socialists are demonstrating the same resistance. However, now, their reputation and trustworthiness has fallen significantly from three years ago, and the opposition’s cause sounds much more trustworthy.
Below, find some of Edi Rama’s then statements:
There is a hornet’s nest that is trying to create chaos by saying that there is crime within the government. How can there be crime within the government, when this government’s crime-fighting numbers are higher than they have ever been in 20 years? How can crime be on the rise when the majority and the government strike it down without mercy? How did crime get there?
[The law demonstrated that] we are simply the best because we believe in certain values and principles that make the left a progressive force that enjoys superiority in this region.
I am impatiently waiting for the law to go into force so we can see who the criminals are, and, if i recall correctly, 19 of them have been inside SHQUP [the Democratic Party’s headquarters]. Each and everyone should be held responsible in front of the Albanian people for every slander and accusation he has hurled at the parliament and politics in general for his own political interest.
You think you are saying something intelligent, that makes you look like crime-fighting knights, when you say this person appears in pictures with the Kavaja or Kruja mayor. The Kavaja and Kruja mayors have been elected by the people. And if one or the other turns out ot have been convicted, even if by a first instance court, be it in Albania, or anywhere else, bring me the appropriate documentation, and I assure you we are ready to join you in asking for his departure, under the threat of jointly blocking municipal councils.
We are ready to compromise, but we can’t accept the opposition’s foolishness. We are willing to listen to any suggestion, demand, reservation, on the condition that the law remains within the limits of international standards. We have made such a big deal of our decriminalization, while Italians have been dealing with the mafia infiltrating their parliament for 25 years. The phenomenon exists, the problem exists, let us treat it appropriately, not by outlandishly proposing things no one in the world has implemented.
It is clear now that this is a game, even as no one in the Democratic Party is coming out and saying so, the people know this was all a game.