From: Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
New “Opposition” Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel

Today eight new members of the “opposition” were sworn in in Parliament. For the PD, Halit Valteri, Selami Jenisheri, Besnik Troplini, Kostaq Papa (all Tirana), Krenar Rryçi (Berat)  took up their seat in Parliament, while Vasil Sterjovki (Korça), Edmond Stojku (Tirana), and Suzana Topi (Elbasan), will take up vacated LSI seats.

The new MPs are expected to join the two new opposition groups that have formed in Parliament, the Democratic and the Independent Parliamentary Groups.

However, it seems unlikely that the Central Election Commission (KQZ)’s process of combing through the electoral lists of the PD and LSI to find replacement candidates for the MPs who collectively gave up their mandates February will result in a completely filled and therefore Constitutional Parliament.

Most of the 18 seats vacated by the LSI MPs will probably be filled. Vacancies remain only for two deputies from Fier, and two from Tirana. Considering that Edmond Stojku was no. 21 on the Tirana list out of a total of 36 candidates suggests that there will be more potential MPs down the line willing to break party discipline.

The party discipline of the PD party members is considerably higher. In many electoral zones only a few candidates have been willing to pick up their seats, and several of them belonged to a party allied to the PD placed at the bottom of the electoral lists. As many of the smaller right-wing parties felt betrayed by the McAllister+ agreement from 2017, which in violation of the Electoral Code, banned electoral coalitions, it is no surprise they took their seats.

According to an official voting record from the prior parliamentary session of May 8, Parliament contained at that moment 113 out of the Constitutionally mandated 140 MPs:

  • PS: 75 MPs
  • LSI: 2 MPs
  • Democratic Parliamentary Group (former PD): 7 MPs
  • Independent Parliamentary Group (former LSI): 8 MPs
  • MPs not belonging to any group: 21 MPs. This group contains the PSD, PDIU, former PS members, and new opposition members from the PD and LSI that didn’t join the Democratic or Independent Groups.

The website of Parliament lists different numbers: PS: 70 MPs; Democrat: 8 MPs; Independent: 9 MPs, but fails to list the MPs not belonging to any group.

It thus is unlikely that the seats formerly held by the PD will be completely filled by new MPs, which implies that Parliament will remain partially empty until the 2021 elections. The Constitution clearly mandates that Parliament consists of 140 MPs, and as there will be no legal way to fill up the seats once the electoral lists of PD and LSI have been exhausted – which will happen soon – the current Parliament could be considered illegitimate. As there is no Constitutional Court to adjudicate the issue, this will yet be another case in which justice will remain suspended.