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News 18 Dec 17

Albania Elects Temporary Prosecutor Amid Parliament Clashes

Opposition MPs set off smoke bombs inside parliament in a failed bid to stop the election of a new temporary prosecutor general, while protesters clashed with police outside the building.

Fatjona Mejdini
BIRN
Tirana
The new temporary prosecutor general Arta Marku (right) being sworn in amid the smoke. Photo: Ora News Livestream screenshot.

The Albanian parliament was blanketed in pink smoke on Monday as the ruling majority voted for the appointment of the new temporary prosecutor general, after opposition MPs set off smoke bombs in an attempt to stop the move, claiming it was unconstitutional.

After clashes between protesters and police outside the building and scuffles between MPs inside the legislature, the ruling majority’s 69 votes confirmed Arta Markun as the new temporary general prosecutor.

The opposition parties believe that the ruling majority is violating the spirit of the constitution by electing a new temporary prosecutor at a time when the High Prosecutorial Council, the body that will elect the new General Prosecutor, has not yet been established.

But the ruling majority insisted that the constitution and prosecutorial law are clear in envisaging the replacement of general prosecutor Adriatik Llalla after he finished his five-year mandate at the beginning of December.

After several attempts by opposition MPs to stop the parliamentary session, smoke bombs were thrown inside the chamber while the ruling majority was voting.

Marku was sworn in before the session was declared closed, while opposition demonstrators were still protesting outside parliament’s doors.

The leader of the opposition Democratic Party, Lulzim Basha, said the procedure was a major violation of the constitution.

"This is how citizens react when the constitution and justice is violated and when criminals get a prosecutor to hide their crime," Basha said, referring to the protest.

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