Socialists Abandon Proposal to Ban Foreign Travel for Those Convicted of Electoral Crimes

The Socialist majority withdrew its proposal to amend the Penal Code with up to a 10-year ban from leaving the country on those who disrupt elections.

In today’s parliamentary session, Head of Socialist Party Parliamentary Group Taulant Balla stated before the vote on Penal Code amendments:

In respect to [parliamentary] opposition MPs also, we have thought not to discuss this amendment today. Maybe it’s not only jail that could make people think.

Balla added there are other laws in place dealing with election disruption.

In the wake of June 30 elections held by the Socialist Party despite the president’s decision to cancel the date, Prime Minister Edi Rama repeatedly threatened the public that those attempting to disrupt elections would be banned from entering the EU and US.

Back then Exit argued that Rama’s threats were baseless, and approached both the EU and US embassies in Tirana for a response to Prime Minister’s extraordinary statement. A spokesperson of the European Commission issued the following statement in response: “

The Commission does not have a competence to issue entry bans, nor does the EU unless the individuals in question are on a sanctions list. For the issuance of refusal of entry alerts through the Schengen information system, such decisions are taken by Member States in accordance with the following rules.

Prime Minister Rama then dropped the “EU and US travel ban” threat, and started with a new one: the Socialist majority will amend the Albanian Penal Code with “up to a 10-year ban from leaving the country”.

In June, few days before the elections, MP Ervin Bushati proposed the said amendment to the Parliament, making the threat sound even more probable.

However, the likelihood of this unconstitutional ban to come true was low. Passing such ban in clear violation o that violates basic human rights would draw criticism from all sides.

Elections held by the Rama government were peaceful, with 23 percent of voter participation according to government claims.

Now that elections are over, the Socialist MPs simply stopped threatening citizens and withdrew the proposed travel ban.