Rama Government Blocks Shkodra Municipal Funds

The Ministry of Finance has yesterday stopped paying invoices for the Municipality of Shkodra, blocking public works and services. According to a letter written by Shkodra mayor Voltana Ademi to the Minister of Finance Anila Denaj, CC’ed to foreign ambassadors in Tirana, the General Directorate of the Treasury claimed that:

according to the law, the Mayor’s mandate has ended on August 20, 2018 at 16:30 according to the official schedule. In the coming days it will be the municipal council that has to solve the problem.

Mayor Ademi has refused to acknowledge the new municipal council, as she has deemed the June 30 local elections “unconstitutional.” She has filed an appeal at the Constitutional Court, which currently is dysfunctional.

Shkodra is currently without a newly elected mayor, as Socialist Party candidate Valdrin Pjetri withdrew after it was revealed he had hidden a former criminal conviction for drug dealing in Italy from his decriminalization form. This is a criminal offense.

Yesterday, the newly elected municipal council in Shkodra elected a new chairperson during its first meeting in the library of the Luigj Gurakuqi University, under massive police protection. There was only a single candidate, Brisela Kadia, a former school director who, according to Socialist MP Sonila Mesi present at the meeting, was to be elected at the orders of the Prime Minister and Taulant Balla: “Who won’t vote Brisela will be expelled from the party.” She referred to Kadia’s nomination as a “political order.”

Eventually Kadia was elected with a majority of 47 votes. The municipal council, led by Kadia, is expected to attempt to dismiss Mayor Ademi. However, the Local Governance Law art. 60(4) clearly states that her mandate only ends once the next elected mayor has taken their oath. The municipal council has no role in this process.