The Albanian opposition has vowed it won’t recognize unilateral changes made to the Constitution by the ruling Socialist majority.
On Thursday, the parliament approved constitutional changes to partially open party candidate lists and change coalition rules a few months before the elections.
The extra-parliamentary opposition had supported fully open lists and not changing the coalition rules at this time.
In a press statement, Democratic Party (PD) leader Lulzim Basha said that the changes violate the Constitution and the June 5 agreement between the parties, facilitated by the US and EU.
“The changes are unacceptable and are not binding on the opposition and the Albanians,” he emphasized.
Prime Minister Edi Rama called on the opposition to “immediately sit down” and collaborate with his party. Rama threatened to adopt the necessary changes to the Electoral Code without the opposition:
“LBPD & CO [Rama’s nickname in the form of an acronym for Lulzim Basha of the Democratic Party and Company] must immediately sit down with the PS and the parliamentary opposition to work on reflecting the constitutional changes into the Electoral Code! They are no longer a project, but part of the fundamental law of our republic and are mandatory for all of us, without distinction! There is no time to lose. Work should start tomorrow. Whoever does not come to the table remains outside the decision-making,” Rama tweeted.
Opposition LSI leader Monika Kryemadhi warned that the latest changes will prompt the EU to stop the free-visa regime for Albanians.
Her deputy Petrit Vasili said Rama had “declared war” to Albanians with the latest changes, and become “their enemy”. He stated that the country has entered “the most serious conflict”.
Basha sharpened his tone in a tweet, writing that the cost of breaking the June 5 agreement will fall only on Rama, and he will be taken to prison after elections.
“Threats for a conflict and personal costs show that [the opposition] has lost direction! It’s the parliament that decided on behalf of Albanians,” Rama replied.