Impunity for Politicians and Criminals Is What’s Blocking Albania’s EU Path, Says Opposition Leader

Opposition’s Democratic Party (PD) leader Lulzim Basha stated that yesterday’s postponement of accession talks between the EU and Albania was due to the impunity of politicians and criminals in the country.

In a press statement on Tuesday following the meeting of the EU Council for Foreign Affairs, Basha said that the rejection of accession talks for the third time under Prime Minister Edi Rama’s rule, was “a bitter news for Albanians, who remain the most isolated country in Europe, 30 years after the collapse of communism.”

Basha argued that this third negative decision by the EU also questions the ability of Albanians “to embrace and live according to European values” of democracy, fighting corruption and crime.

He added that Prime Minister Edi Rama will deploy his propaganda tools to conceal the real reasons for his government’s failure.

[However] the only responsible one for the continual rejection of Albania is Edi Rama and his government.

The opposition leader argued that crime and corruption were the true reasons for Albania’s failure in the EU path.

[Accession] negotiations would have opened today if Albania did not have the most corrupt government in Europe, if Albania were not a free drug and crime zone.

Referring to the alleged links between the Rama government, and crime and corruption, Basha listed several points that, according to him, brought to the postponement of accession talks.

[Accession talks would have started:]
– If cannabization of Albania had not occurred;
– If Albania had not turned into a hotbed for drugs;
– If [(former) ministers and mayors] Saimir Tahiri, Elvis Roshi, Vangjush Dako, Damian Gjiknuri and others were in jail, not free and at the top of the politics;
–  If senior officials and bureaucrats served the people, instead of stealing votes for the [governing] party;
– If we had built ports and roads instead of the facades;
– If European companies invested in the [Albanian] coast, and not the predatory oligarchs and criminals who launder their drug money;
– Above all, we would be negotiating [with the EU] today if we had free elections.

Basha also spoke on the recent wiretaps published by the German newspaper Bild, which allegedly expose the governing Socialist Party’s strategy of election manipulation under the watch and guidance of Prime Minister Edi Rama.

Wiretaps will not just pass as another scandal of the Rama government.  The alliance of crime, government, public administration and the Socialist Party is a clear risk not only for democracy but also for the stability and national security of the country.

The head of the PD argued that this “alliance” had affected the “moral compass” of the Albanian society, which needs to be repaired in order to save the social and political fabric of the country.

Lack of reflection and loss of moral compass has normalized the evil between us and killed our [sense of] reaction against it.
If we do not react now, evil will rule over anyone in politics, economics and society. We should not and will not allow this. This time [wiretaps on election manipulation] will not pass as before. This situation should not pass without bringing about profound change.

Lulzim Basha said that autocrats around the world no longer rule through military violence, but by manipulating elections and controlling all power.

Autocratic regimes also have parliaments and elections, but what distinguishes them from Western democracies is the rule of law.

He stated that the only solution to the crisis is to stop the impunity for politicians and criminals, to hold accountable in front of justice those responsible for manipulation of elections, links to crime, and corruption.

The essence of our problems as a society is impunity – the fact that politicians, the rich and the strong are above the law, they are the law itself, whereas ordinary people are the victims, not protected by the law or anything else.
The impunity for politicians and criminals must end and end now.
The only answer is justice: the indictment of all those who have colluded with crime in manipulating elections. Only in this way will we close the infamous election manipulation chapter.

The opposition leader called on everyone to join the anti-government protest on Friday, June 21st.