From: Exit Staff
Socialists Urge President to Set Local By-Election Dates in Three Cities

Head of the Socialist parliamentary group, Taulant Balla has urged President Ilir Meta to set by-election dates for mayors of Shkodra, Durres and Vora.

Balla voiced his party’s request after meeting with a delegation from the Council of Europe (CoE), with whom he said he had also discussed the issue.

“Based on the provisions of the Constitution and within the possible timeframe, the President should set the election date for 3 municipalities whose mayors’ terms have come to an end – Shkodra, Durres and Vora,” he stated, adding that election dates for Durres and Vora should be set once the emergency situation declared by the Rama Government is over.

The President does not recognize the June 30th elections, which he claims the Socialist Party held in violation of his decree cancelling them.

During a meeting with a Council of Europe delegation on Tuesday, President Meta said that “the decision of the Socialist majority to hold the June 30 one-party elections has plunged the country deeper into crisis.”

Balla claimed that validity of June 30 elections was confirmed by the Venice Commission. He underlined that the next local elections in Albania will be held in 2023 and general elections in 2021.

Shkodra municipality is run by Voltana Ademi, who won local elections in 2015 but did not run in the June 30th elections following opposition’s boycott. The only mayoral candidate, Valdrin Pjetri of the ruling Socialist Party, resigned as mayor-elect after it was found that he hid a Italian court sentence against him on drug-dealing charges.

Mayor of Vora Agim Kajmaku was removed from office for hiding a sentence in Greece for using counterfeit money. He is on the run now.

Mayor of Durres Valbona Sako resigned after the November 26 earthquake after public opinion pressure following statements deemed insensitive.

The opposition has denounced several more Socialist mayors with alleged criminal pasts.