Albania’s opposition MPs to resign in protest

An injured protester is helped by others as supporters of Albanian opposition shout anti Government slogans during a protest in front of the government building in Tirana, Albania, 16 February 2019. [Malton Dibra/EPA/EFE]

Albania’s centre-right opposition said Monday (18 February) its MPs would resign from parliament, the latest in a series of dramatic protests against Prime Minister Edi Rama, who they accuse of corruption.

“The deputies of the Democratic Party but also its allies have decided to resign from their positions,” announced Lulzim Basha, the leader of the main opposition Democratic Party.

“This government has manipulated the results of the June 2017 legislative elections and is involved in criminal affairs and corruption,” he added.

The opposition has taken a series of dramatic measures to push Rama to resign and call early elections. He has been in power since 2013.

This latest announcement follows violent clashes on Saturday, when demonstrators at an anti-government rally called by the opposition clashed with police while trying to break into parliament.

Thousands attended the weekend rally and another one is planned for Tuesday.

Last year, the opposition party boycotted parliament for six months until December, and when they did return one of the party’s MPs hurled eggs at Rama as he addressed the assembly.

Last week, another opposition politician splattered the premier with ink before being removed by security guards.

Rama’s Socialist Party however has a firm grip on the Albanian parliament, with 78 out the chamber’s 140 seats, compared to the 44 held by the Democrats and their right-wing allies.

Rama dismissed the mass resignation as a sign of the opposition’s “desperation”.

Albania hopes to open accession negotiations with the European Union this year, but the government is under pressure to tackle organised crime and corruption.

Subscribe to our newsletters