BRUSSELS/TIRANA – High Representative Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn in their joint statement reaffirmed the right of citizens to engage in peaceful demonstrations as an essential feature and a core value of democracy, and strongly denounced any rhetoric by political leaders calling for violence.
Previously, members of the Lulzim Basha’s Democratic Party, as well as the Socialist Movement for Integration, have resigned from their parliamentary post on 20 February. They accuse Prime Minister Edi Rama and the ruling Socialist Party of manipulating the results of 2017 elections, corruption and criminal affairs, state paralysis and oppression. The move represents the pinnacle of several weeks of political turmoil.
EU Ambassador to Albania Luigi Soreca, as well as European Parliament Rapporteur for Albania Knut Fleckenstein criticized the decision while it was still being discussed.
In the statement, Mogherini and Hahn states that decision by the opposition to relinquish their mandates seriously hinders the functioning of democracy in Albania. “The Parliament is the place where reforms and relevant developments should be discussed and taken forward, not boycotted”, states Hahn and Mogherini.
These decisions and acts are counterproductive, go against the democratic choice of Albanian citizens and undermine the progress the country has made on the European Union path.
The European Union expects all Members of the Albanian Parliament to defend the ideals and principles of democracy, to continue serving in the Parliament, and to take any necessary measure to avoid violent acts and incendiary statements.
“We equally expect the Government and the opposition to engage in constructive discussions with a view to overcoming the current political situation to the benefit of Albania and its citizens”, concluded the statement.