Prime Minister Edi Rama has slammed the ambassadors of the United States and United Kingdom in Albania for their alleged overzealous involvement in the country’s domestic issues.
On Tuesday, during a press conference, Rama took issue with the two ambassadors’ statements regarding elections in Albania, and criticized them.
British Ambassador Norman Duncan pointed out three days ago that votes in Albania are still being bought, and called for transparency of political party finances.
“I do not understand this British ambassador at all, why is he so involved in the issue of elections in Albania? I respect him, and he really is a person who deserves respect, but I do not understand why he is so involved in the internal discussions of Albania when it comes to elections? I am saying this publicly now because I already told him privately,” Rama told journalists.
He then turned to US Ambassador Yuri Kim, who has recently called on party leaders to keep those with a criminal past away from electoral lists.
“There is no need for the American ambassador to tell me my duty. Do not bring forth the American ambassador, I do not need to be reminded of my duty by any ambassador in Albania and no EU coordinator. I know my duty towards the law and towards the Albanian people. The law is quite clear, whoever has committed criminal offenses in the past, for which he has been convicted, should not run for public office,” Rama said.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly rejected any responsibility of political parties and their leaders regarding potential former criminals appearing in electoral lists or in parliament. He has argued that they are not the right institutions to be asked to check the past of MP candidates.
His Socialist Party has been among those suffering from this issue since it came to power eight years ago. A number of MPs and mayors were found to have committed criminal offences and to have been sentenced to prison mainly in European countries.
Rama also rebuked German MEP Michael Gahler today, after the latter reminded the government of the conditions it has to meet before sitting in EU talks.