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News 04 Nov 16

Albanian Opposition Boycott Vote on Key Judicial Law

Opposition leader Lulzim Basha led his MPs out of parliament ahead of a key vote on Thursday, accusing Prime Minister Edi Rama of turning the country into drugs state.

Fatjona Mejdini
BIRN
Tirana
Albanian Parliament. Photo: LSA

Albanian opposition MPs refused to take part in a vote on a key law sought by the EU on Thursday, after accusing Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama of deliberately turning the country into a "narco state".

At the regular parliamentary session on Thursday, members of opposition led by the Democratic Party debated issues in the country for hours - but then left the parliament as several draft laws were due to go to a vote.

The most important law scheduled for a vote was on the creation of judicial institutions that will allow for the formation of new bodies such the High Judicial Council and the High Prosecutor Council.

The bodies are considered the cornerstones of the judicial reform process that the EU wants to see implemented as a step towards curbing corruption in the courts.

On Wednesday, after a closed-door parliamentary meeting, Democratic Party chief Lulzim Basha claimed that democracy and stability in Albania were at risk because of unhindered cultivation of drugs in Albania.

"The media, the opposition and the people are all proclaiming that Albania is turning into a narco-state," Basha said on Wednesday, accusing Rama of being responsible for this situation.

"Turning Albania into a granary for drugs is a political project of Edi Rama, to spoil and capture the next electoral elections," he claimed.

This radicalisation of opposition tactics was announced by Basha in an interview on Top Channel on October 20.

Basha said that Rama was not to be trusted to take the country into the next elections, so activating major protests against the government was more necessary than ever.

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