From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
Alice’s Guide To Albanian Politics: Six Things We Learned This Week

This is Alice’s tongue-in-cheek take on the main news in Albania over the last week.

Mayor Erion Veliaj Hasn’t Told A Lie This Week

In a highly unusual turn of events, it appears that for the first time since he took office, Mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj has NOT told a major lie this week. Well not to the public anyway, the lies he tells to himself everyday obviously don’t count. 

He did however promise that every citizen who had their house damaged by the earthquake, would have them rebuilt and repaired, so let’s see how that pans out, shall we?

Albanian Police Swiftly Round Up Naughty Journalists

The Albanian police have been hard at work rounding up criminals, drug lords, corrupt politicians, and individuals who seek to undermine the very foundations of democracy this week. Oh no, my mistake, they haven’t at all, they arrested two journalists instead.

Following last week’s earthquakes, a report published in and a few other sites proclaimed that a Greek seismologist had said a magnitude 6 earthquake would strike Tirana at around 11.30pm on Sunday night. The news ignited widespread panic as thousands took to the streets, deserting their homes in fear. When the news was ascertained to be total nonsense, the Albanian police sprung into action like lightning, rounding up those naughty journalists and taking them to the police station to initiate legal proceedings against them.

Very swift work at the hands of the police and prosecutor, it’s a shame the same level of efficiency wasn’t forthcoming when wiretaps of senior Socialist Party MPs, officials, and government employees were recorded discussing buying votes, threatening voters and trying to rig, not one, but two elections. Three years and counting…

Venice Commission Wonders What All The Fuss Is About

In a confidential draft report that was embargoed for publication until 29 October 2019 yet was swiftly leaked on Friday night, the Venice Commission basically said that they don’t know what the big fuss is about. Whilst saying that they think the President’s decision to cancel the 30 June vote was a bit rash and he probably should have thought about it a bit more beforehand, their opinion is that it is not enough to impeach him.

Rama, who previously said he will listen to the Venice Commission, will no doubt adopt rather selective hearing/reading when it comes to the report. In order to continue his rampage to control every single court, municipality and institution in the country, it is likely he will continue impeachment proceedings against President Meta, despite the Venice Commission warning it could destabilise the country and harm its credibility.

Rama Lectures UN On Human Rights

I’ve just realised why Edi Rama doesn’t reply to my Tweets! No, it’s not because he finds me annoying or irrelevant, it’s because, based on his speech at the United Nations this week- he doesn’t appear to have a particularly great grasp of English.

In a bumbling display of awkwardness, sounding like a drunk Russian, the tin-pot autocrat lectured world leaders about human rights and democracy at the 74th Session of the General Assembly of the UN. He also took the opportunity to justify Albania’s harbouring of “ex” terrorist group, MEK, whilst in the same breath, talking about the threats of terrorism to ensure peace and security around the world today. Right.

He then called on all United Nations states, including Serbia to recognise the independence of Kosovo, to which the Serbian delegates looked incredibly awkward, smirked, and shook their heads. He then uttered the phrase “willy nilly”, a colloquialism meaning haphazardly and TOTALLY out of place at an international event of this level, and started talking about the justice reform.

Apparently this justice reform is a “major clean up” that will remove corrupt judges and prosecutors from the system and will “target corruption and organised crime at the highest levels”. What Mr Rama did not mention is the fact that he replaces these judges and prosecutors with people placed there to do his bidding, and allows obstruction of cases involving himself, his employees, his ministers, members of his party, and individuals in positions of power throughout the country. 

He also failed to mention that this so-called targeting of corruption and organised crime, does not extend to anyone affiliated with the Socialist Party, unless of course it is a prerequisite on the checklist to be a PS Mayor.

The National Theatre is STILL Standing

A week after the Magnitude 5.8 earthquake and some 340 aftershocks that followed, the National Theatre in the centre of Tirana is STILL standing. Rama had previously said the reason he was so keen to demolish the theatre was because he feared it would be razed following a big earthquake- absolutely definitely not anything to do with any dodgy deals and kickbacks. 

Anyway, despite the insistence of the government that it is structurally unsound and likely to crumble should anyone so much as fart in its general direction, the Theatre still stands.

At this rate, I think the Theatre will still be standing after the apocalypse, which based on the quakes and flooding of the last week, I think could be nigh.

Ramaganda In Overdrive Following Bundestag Critiques

Endri Fuga was a busy little bee this week after the German Bundestag announced they would support accession talks, but only support negotiations if everyone involved in the Electiongate scandal was rounded up, questioned, prosecuted, and punished.

Obviously this would mean half the Socialist Party and even Rama himself could potentially end up behind bars for rigging elections thus posing quite a challenge for the government spin machine.

Failing to find a way to make it sound positive, one can only assume Fuga said “bugger it, your followers are so dim, they will believe anything you tell them, so just say this…”. Rama then tweeted his thanks to the Bundestag and Angela Merkel for their “unsparing support”, despite the reality which is that they basically implied they think they are a bunch of crooks that should be made to face justice sooner rather than later.

More and more it becomes apparent that the government’s whole PR strategy is to announce the opposite to any criticism levied against them, in the hope that no one will do any fact-checking or verification of any kind.