SPAK has issued 22 arrest warrants for Commissioners that were involved in the alleged vote-rigging “Albanian electiongate” scandal during the parliamentary elections in Durrës in 2017.
Commissioners from three polling stations have been arrested. They include Shpëtim Stafa, Elidon Stafa, Ramiz Tuda, Fredi Marku, Dalvis Biba, Emilian Tuda, Redi Hysa, Bashkim Allushi, Jakup Bregu, Altin Lala, Kasem Lala, Kujtim Uruçi, Zyhra Lala, Qemal Domi, Besim Bregu, Indrit Bici, Mehdi Lala, Agim Lala, Oriada Lala, Bujar Sula, and Qazim Lala.
They have been charged with a variety of offences including allowing people to vote for them and voting on behalf of others. Police have also arrested Armelin Zela for voting on behalf of other persons.
Dossier 339, as the investigation is referred to, also included taped conversations between notorious underworld figures and Socialist Party officials. Some of the conversations took place between Mayor of Durrës Vangjush Dako, also head of the Socialist Party for the Durrës Region and Astrit Avdylaj, the boss of an international drug trafficking criminal organization, and his gang members. The recordings were leaked and published by German newspaper BILD last year.
Besides Durrës, they also included wiretaps from Dossier 184 of conversations surrounding vote-buying activities of the Socialist Party in Dibër, that implicated state officials, members of parliament, ministers, and Prime Minister Edi Rama himself.
Dubbed “election gate”, the publication of the wiretaps went on to spark last years opposition-led anti-government protests, mass resignations of the Democratic Party from Parliament, and the ongoing political crisis.
One of the 15 conditions set by the European Commission before Albania can start formal accession negotiations is to prosecute those involved in the Albanian Electiongate. Many of those appearing on the tape have not been arrested, including senior members of the government.