Edi Rama pushing Albania towards civil conflict (op)

His refusal to let go of power has led to the persecution and silencing of his political opponents

Albania is in a deep and dangerous conflict which might result in bloodshed and civil war. For months the opposition parties and thousands of people have rallied in Tirana asking for the resignation of premier Edi Rama and the creation of a transitional government which will ensure free and fair elections.

This political crisis might be considered as terrible as that of 1997 when Albania experienced total chaos. But this crisis might bring worse consequences than that of 1997 because it is threatening the foundations of the state and governance itself, the constitutional order and may destabilize the entire region.
For the last six years, despite the high level of corruption in the government, international drugs trafficking involving the Minister of Interior, state police and even officials of the army, the Rama government has worked to destroy the constitutional process in Albania by rendering the Constitutional Court impotent via so-called ‘judicial reform’, an experiment used only to allow his total control of the judiciary system.

The country is currently without a Constitutional Court, with a Parliament with 122 seats out of 140, totally under his control, with a Prosecutor General appointed against the Constitution and the will of the political and public factors, and recently he has submitted a formal parliamentary request to remove the President of the Republic from office, the only institution that is still in force and that guarantees the unity of the people. The Decree issued by the President for the annulment of the 30th of June aimed at avoiding civil conflict and offered a chance for dialogue among the political sides. But with his stubbornness, Edi Rama was determined to escalate the crisis and pushed for the removal of the President from office. This is pure dictatorship.

Many audio tapes emerged in the last few days from German newspaper Bild of officials in the Rama government speaking with organized crime figures in the country to buy votes in the 2017 election. Premier Rama, Minister Damian Gjiknuri, mayor Vangjush Dako, were caught in these tapes. This revelation sparked massive civil unrest and the opposition party demanded Rama resign and new elections be held.

In any democratic country the premier should have resigned, instead, as a response to this scandal, Rama pushed the Prosecutor’s office to forcefully accompany Lulzim Basha, the head of the opposition, for interrogation, intimidating him with a possible arrest and pushing further for the removal of the President of the Republic from office.

With an illegal Parliament under control, the General Prosecutor under his orders, the opposition leader in jail, the President of the Republic removed from office, the Central Electoral Commission at his disposal to break any laws, the army ready to intervene at his command, with many EU and foreign diplomats in his payroll, Edi Rama has a free pass to hold the elections on the 30th of June, entering alone in the elections, winning all 61 municipalities of Albania.

This plan is nothing more than a coup d’etat. Many confrontations have already started. With municipalities and common citizens clashing with the state police. In the days to come, the conflict will escalate and a number of victims are expected. Edi Rama is aware of such a scenario and seems willing to risk the lives of many Albanians just to preserve his seat.

Entering elections without the opposition will have serious consequences for the country’s EU integration. It will set the country many steps backwards and it will greatly affect the decision of the EU Commission on the opening of the accession talks scheduled before October 2019.

The question that arises is why is he willing to choose such a path? Simple. Because his popularity has fallen dramatically and the chances of him staying in power are very small. Fearing a heavy loss in the elections he seems willing and determined to let Albania burn and endanger the lives of his people, as well as creating an ideal opportunity for any other actor to destabilize the entire region.

The international media has expressed deep concerns and even called Rama a “madman”. This madman has a big ego and unstoppable desire for power, therefore, the Albanians, as well as the neighbouring countries, are at great risk. If Rama proceeds with his plan, the 30th of June will turn into a bloodbath. It could all be stopped with a small act of integrity on his behalf, resignation, dialogue or any other means to avoid this civil war ready to take place in the days, or possibly hours to come.

by Helen Bratt