The Albanian opposition harshly criticized the decision of the Special Anti-corruption Prosecution Office (SPAK) not investigate vote rigging during the Dibra local election in 2016.
The case, known as “Dossier 184”, is part of the Albanian Electiongate, in which officials of the ruling Socialist Party are alleged to have colluded with criminal organizations to rig general elections in 2017 and an early local election in Dibra in 2016.
The SPAK was formed to fight corruption and crimes of the highest officials in Albania, as well as organized crime.
In a press statement, Enkelejd Aliabeaj of the opposition Democratic Party (PD) attacked the head of SPAK, Arben Kraja for the decision:
“This illegal and political decision not to investigate the grave crime of election rigging in Dibra, is of benefit only to the head of the criminal gang, Edi Rama, who ordered the electoral massacre in Dibra, three and a half years ago. The Democratic Party considers Arben Kraja as just another servant of Edi Rama in the judicial system.”
PD General Secretary Gazmend Bardhi also called the decision political, disappointing and detrimental to Albania’s EU integration:
“The decision […] not to allow SPAK to investigate […] the rigging of elections in Dibra is a political decision and goes against Albania’s interests. Investigation of cases where high officials are involved […] is an exclusive duty of SPAK. The SPAK was formed to give an end to impunity of politicians and high officials, but today’s act […] gives a blow to all expectations that Arben Kraja [head of SPAK] could act differently from Donika Prela [former head of the Serious Crimes Prosecution Office],” Bardhi stated.
He added that this decision meant that the case was “practically buried”, despite clear evidence of crimes committed, and despite it being among the German parliament’s conditions for opening EU accession talks with Albania.
Petrit Vasili of the opposition Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI) also stated that “the SPAK failed in its first attempt to face the government.”