Edi Rama, the Prime Minister Without a Heart For His People
As the political crisis in Albania escalates, another protest was held over the weekend in the Albanian capital of Tirana. The turnout made it the biggest rally since the fall of Communism, thirty years ago.
The current political crisis in Albania reached a new high after German newspaper Bild, one of the most read newspapers in Europe, published six wiretapped phone conversations between a mafia boss, a member of an international criminal organization, and Albanian government officials in the region of Durres, Albania.
In the tapes, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, Durres mayor Vangjush Dako and many others are mentioned and clearly involved in the manipulation of the 2017 elections. In a healthy functioning democracy, or in any other western country, the Prime Minister would have resigned immediately, but not in Albania where the thirst for power surpasses any limits.
Fearing that the weekend’s protest could turn violent, the E.U. and the diplomatic delegation in Albania released a statement ahead of the protest saying, “Any form of incitement to violence is not tolerable. The use of explosives or any other items designed to cause injury is completely unacceptable.” At the end of the statement, they appealed to “all sides to urgently engage in a constructive dialogue to overcome the current political situation.”
But despite the appeal for dialogue from the international community, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama is insisting on holding elections on the 30th of June without the opposition’s participation. Instead, opposition parties are continuing to ask for Rama’s resignation ahead of any election and claim they will not give up until he has resigned. The head of the opposition, Lulzim Basha, has said, “Our battle will continue until the departure of Edi Rama. His departure is not negotiable.” Basha warned Rama that the current crisis could escalate into a civil conflict, but Rama has responded by using more provocations.
The situation before the weekend’s protest was very critical. Both sides were not tolerating each other and were not willing to solve the political crisis through dialogue. In a matter of hours, Albania could risk a civil war. But shortly before the protest started, the President of Albania, Ilir Meta, in a very courageous and fair decision decided to cancel the June 30th elections by presidential decree because the current crisis “undermined every chance to start accession talks with the European Union.”
Several thousand protesters rejoiced the president’s decision and Albanians saw a light of hope that the current dangerous situation will be resolved. Media around the world covered the news of the Jun 30th cancellation and Albania seemed at ease. However, Edi Rama, the protagonist and the author of the current crisis, added fuel to already flaming fire by insisting that despite the president’s cancelation and the will of the opposition, he and his party are committed to holding elections on the 30th of June, all alone, without the participation of the opposition. Rama even threatened the president with removing him from office and stated, “You haven’t seen anything yet.”
Such an unprecedented and stubborn political attitude risks the well-being of the people, Albania and its chance at E.U. integration. A prime minister who is not willing to help solve the political crisis but instead contributes to its escalation is archaic and dubious. Albanians and regional leaders are alarmed at the potential widespread effects of the current political crisis, and as the BBC reported, many important figures have frequently said the ongoing political division threatens Albania’s aspiration to join the E.U. Despite appeals, Edi Rama seems committed to sit in his premiership chair at any cost and with Albania out of the E.U., the current civil conflict could result in a civil war.
Edi Rama is the author of Albania’s current crisis and yet he also holds the solution to avoiding a civil conflict. Reflection by Rama and a change of political attitude might not make him a nationwide hero but it could prevent chaos and bloodshed.
Albania is at the heart of Europe, but unfortunately for its people, it has a prime minister without a heart for his people.