The US Embassy in Albania expressed its support for Lulzim Basha after he expelled former Prime Minister and co-founder of the Democratic Party (PD), Sali Berisha, from its parliamentary group.
Basha, who is Chairman of the PD, made the decision after Berisha and his family were declared persona “non grata” by the US State Department, due to “corrupt acts” that “undermined democracy in Albania”.
The embassy stated that Basha’s difficult decision deserves respect, adding that “this decision demonstrates that Democratic Party has the courage to break from the past in order to build the future to help lead forward, as was the case 30 years ago and at other critical moments in Albania’s history”.
The statement concluded that “the United States has had a special relationship with the Democratic Party since its founding, and looks forward to working more closely than ever with Chairman Basha and the Democratic Party to strengthen US-Albanian relations”.
The evening before the new Albanian parliament convened, Basha released a statement saying that until Berisha solves his legal issues with the US Department of State, he will be excluded from the party’s parliamentary group.
In his statement, Basha said that the Department of State’s decision does not take away from Berisha’s achievements, but the issue is complicated.
This decision drew criticism and division among the ranks of the Democratic Party, with some PD members telling Exit News that Basha made this decision on his own in order to please the US State Department.
In a poll conducted by Euronews Albania, most Democratic voters do not want to see Sali Berisha ousted from the parliamentary group. In addition, they also demand that the PD support him in his case against the United States.