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Battle of Words

The Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, issued a public statement on Tuesday responding to some of the claims made during the recent dispute over the planned local elections.

Responding to Edi Rama's claim that it was Albania's international partners who wanted a postponement, Berisha said that during his meetings with officials from these partners none of them, with no exception, has asked [for] the postponement of the elections and the unconstitutional extension of mandates, but on the contrary have clearly demanded respect for the Constitution concerning office terms and elections date."

Regarding the dispute over the election lists, Berisha asserted that in two thirds of the country and in ninety per cent of Tirana the lists were compiled and the certificates issued by municipalities under the control of the Socialist Party.

The Prime Minister also published the text of a letter to Rama, which was a response to an earlier public letter to him from Rama. I have not been able to find an English translation of Rama's letter in any easily accessible format. However, I did manage to get hold of a copy from BBC Monitoring and have reproduced it below.

Mr Prime Minister,
I am writing to you on behalf of the Albanian citizens to invite you to share not only the concern but also the great responsibility for conducting free and fair elections in Albania. Our fellow citizens have the right to choose freely and be confident that their votes will be counted fairly. Our democratic system cannot and must not lose its credibility, which was undermined in the past by flawed electoral registers, birth certificates, and other abuses of the election process. This has undermined Albania's future and image in the eyes of the Free World.

Personal ambitions and interests cannot and must not be a reason for preventing an election process that is trusted by all sides. Therefore, I call on you to think about the ambitions and interests of citizens for a free and fair election process and their European integration in the future and to agree to work together on the successful conclusion of the ongoing negotiations between the two sides.

Let us set together a timeframe for updating the electoral register so as not to deny Albanians the minimum time needed to confirm that their names are on it and to prevent possible central or local government abuses. I also assure you that, by issuing special certificates for these elections, we will significantly improve the credibility of this election process. Therefore, I urge you to step back from your current position about this process and accept this request, which is crucial to making these elections free and fair. Let us create together these inalienable preconditions for free and fair elections, thus restoring Albania's democratic integrity and the Albanians' power to decide about their vote.

I am writing to you on behalf of the Albanians who respect themselves as free people and who want to be recognized and respected by the European Union as a people with unsullied democratic integrity. No short-term political interest can undermine the wish and ignore the ability of Albanians to become a part of the European family. This simple fact should be the motivation for and the key to the success of the ongoing negotiations. The people should and must decide. Our will cannot be at odds with theirs.


Anonymous said…
Of course the truth is that the electoral lists are not perfect. But this will take years of work not months to really reform. This should be done by all parties and whichever government is in power starting now. In the meantime all the parties should show a little bit of political maturity if they want Albania to be taken seriously. Albania has real development potential. It would be a shame if this potential was wasted due to short term petty politics.
Anonymous said…
both sides have either broken or want to break the constitution of Albania. reform will not come for a very long time politicians will always be Albanias main obstacle to success.

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Welcome to Our Man in Tirana. I moved to Tirana, capital of Albania, in October 2005 and left in October 2007. This blog is a mix of photographs, reports, links, impressions and, undoubtedly, prejudices relating to the city and the country.

Since I am no longer in Tirana I am no longer updating this blog. However, there are over 300 posts covering this two year period and I hope that they are still of some interest.

So if you are curious about Albania or if you are planning to visit I hope this blog will be of value.

Petrela Castle

This is Petrela Castle near Tirana. The site has been fortified since the 4th century, but the oldest surviving parts are from the 13th century. Today the castle is a restaurant where you can enjoy lunch while taking in the views.