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Why Are the US and EU Allowing a Bully Dictator Like Rama in the Balkans?

Edi RAMA, Prime Minister of Albania
Edi RAMA, Prime Minister of Albania. July 2018. (Photo: Nikolay Doychinov)

On the reception held for the National Day of France, the French Ambassador to Albania, Mrs. Christina Vasak criticized her colleagues by saying that ambassadors do not judge or replace Albanian authorities. That was a slap in the face to her colleagues regarding their behavior in the country. She stressed that “diplomats are here to understand, support, accompany, but in no case to judge, or replace competent authorities.”

Obviously, the French ambassador could no longer stay silent about the communist-style voting that took place on June 30, which she called “strange elections.”

Strange they were, indeed. The strangest vote in the entire European continent, comparable only to the hardest and cruelest regimes of all times. One party ran for the 61 municipalities; one party administrated the voting; one party counted the votes; and as expected, the one party won. But despite all this farce, the Central Elections Committee has not yet given, two weeks after the voting day, the final results. Why? Because there have been many irregularities. The numbers of votes are higher than the number of the voters, showing that even in one a party vote, the manipulation was grave.

The International Observation Mission of OSCE/ODIHR, which came to observe the disputed local elections of June 30, said that the election process gave voters no meaningful choice. In a preliminary report, the mission said that the elections were held “with little regard for the interests of the electorate.” Ambassador Glover, who has observed several previous elections in Albania, criticized the organization of the elections in a unilateral way by the ruling party. She also said that the Socialist-controlled Central Electoral Commission had “interpreted the law in a creative way,” which left the administration of the vote in the hands of the Socialist Party.

After this tragic-comic situation, a very serious question arises. Why are the US and the EU embassies silent about what is happening in Albania, a NATO member, and a country aspiring to join the EU?

Many ambassadors in Tirana have been alarmed with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama – with his political bullishness toward the opposition, the people, and even the institutions of the country. For many years he has been politically bullying the opposition leaders and members of parliament and using his propaganda to turn them from victims into the guilty, and himself from the bully to the hero. His political bullying again went too far when he started parliamentary procedures for the impeachment of the President – the only government authority which is not under his control – in order for him to usurp every single institution in the country. PM Edi Rama, presently, controls the one-party parliament, one-party local government, one-party Prosecutor General office, one party judiciary branch, one-party media, one-party every authority in the country.

Yet, the US and EU embassies kept silent about the June 30 election and did not join the appeal for a postponement of the election, because they feared a regional precedent for future elections in the Balkans countries might occur.

But, as diplomatic as this might seem, this is not true. In contrary, they are practicing a double standard, because, as seen on the document attached to this article, the US and EU embassies were the ones who supported the postponement of the elections in Macedonia in 2016. Because, as stated in their document addressed to the PM, the set date for voting did not offer the necessary conditions for organizing credible elections and postponement to a later date would restore the citizens faith in the electoral process, ensure fair competition, and move the country beyond the political crisis – as well as ensure a credible electoral process in which all citizens and parties should freely participate. And in Macedonia’s case, the elections were postponed not once but twice with the US and EU blessing.

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Why such a double standard? Why in Macedonia did they push for postponement and in Albania they remain silent in the face of grave violations of human rights and democracy – in an electoral process where officially only 21% of Albanians voted (de facto only 15%), most of whom were forced and threatened with dismissal from their workplace? Why is such a political and national dictatorship and bullying tolerated?

Albania is the most corrupt country in Europe, the world media has dubbed it the “Columbia of Europe.” The whole world can see very clearly what is happening in this small country. Albanians are refusing to vote and support their government. A rally took place recently in front of the White House in Washington DC asking President Trump to see what is really happening in Albania. Albanian religious communities are appealing for an urgent solution to the crisis and for the protection of the principles of democracy. The only ones “see no evil, hear no evil” are the foreign embassies in Tirana, who, with their indifference, are allowing a western loving country to fall into the abyss.

Dr. Francesca Norton

Dr. Francesca Norton is a peer news writer for Citizen Truth. She is a political analyst, human rights activist and author of many articles and analyses in the international media.

1 Comment

  1. Larry Stout July 21, 2019

    What makes you think there’s an operational principle against supporting a bully dictator? Since when?


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