From: Exit Staff
Rama Hints at Grand Coalition Government, Basha Refuses 

Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama implied that his party is open for a grand coalition with the main opposition party, Democratic Party (PD), but its leader refused the offer.

Rama told Reporter TV on Wednesday that he would collaborate with opposition leader Lulzim Basha after elections if the latter was willing to part ways with the smaller opposition party Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI) and former PD leader Sali Berisha.

“I am ready to cooperate with the opposition after April 25 [elections], and with Basha also, but with the simple condition that he parts from Meta and Berisha. This is to transform the political life that has indeed become stressful for Albanians,” Rama said.

LSI was created and chaired by Ilir Meta, and his wife Monika Kryemadhi was elected the head of the party after Meta became Albania’s President in 2017.

The leader of the ruling Socialist Party, Rama has stated his aim to get rid of the LSI from the country’s politics after they ruled Albania together for four years from 2013 to 2017. Speaking of this experience last weekend, Rama said LSI had been a “cancer tissue” in his first government but that nevertheless he achieved “many good things” for the country. 

The second and third largest parties in Albania, PD and LSI signed a pre-electoral coalition deal in March but they are running separately in elections.

Rama also claims in his political rhetoric that Basha is under Berisha’s heavy influence.

Basha was elected leader of the PD following Berisha’s resignation in 2013 when they lost general elections after governing the country for two terms.

He recently accused Meta and Berisha of masterminding a failed coup attempt, but later stepped back from his allegations.

Basha responded to Rama’s hinted offer for a grand coalition government with a clear refusal. He said Albanians will vote for his party in order to remove Rama from power, “and he will never be part of our government”.

The Prime Minister doubled down on the need for a grand coalition that would allegedly unite Albanians and bring an end to political strife.

“Lulzim, why are Sali [Berisha] and Ilir [Meta] more important to you than Albania? Albanians want unity, they want us all to work for them and their economy, beyond the pandemic, leaving behind the old political strife, division, conflict to the point of absurdity! Why is it that you don’t want this?” Rama replied.

Albania will hold general elections on April 25. The Socialist Party is running for a third term, while the opposition enters the elections after it boycotted the parliament in February 2019, as well as local elections in June 2019.