Prime Minister Rama Fires Four Ministers From His Cabinet
Opposition Protests Still Continue
The opposition tent, put up in the main boulevard of Tirana, the capital of Albania, since 18 February, seems to have “shaded” from the ongoing sun four ministers of the current Rama government. Although the prime minister himself never admited that these moves were the outcome of opposition pressure, nevertheless, they are gone.
The four dismissed ministers are:
Saimir Tahiri, Minister of Internal Affairs, accused by the opposition as responsible for the widespread of cannabis throughout the country. Tahiri is considered by Rama as the most successful minister of his cabinet. This fact has raised questions by analysts, who surmise that someone is fired due to failures on the job, not successes. During a TV debate, Rama responded that the Minister of Internal Affairs was actually removed from office to serve better prepare for the upcoming elections of June 2017. He was replaced by Fatmir Xhafa, Socialist MP.
Ilir Beqaj, Minister of Health, was accused by the opposition for his scandals regarding the acquisition process, especially those of Dialyze and Checkup, where more funds were given to a private company for the service than needed to treat the number of patients seen in centers established for this purpose. Rama himself introduced the new Minister of Health, Ogerta Manastirliu, former an employee of Tirana Municipality, and currently General Director of University Hospital in Tirana.
Blendi Klosi, Minister of Social Welfare, substituted by Olta Xhacka, Socialist MP.
Blendi Cuci, Minister of Local Issues, substituted by Eduard Shalesi, Socialist MP.
An interesting development was seen in the reaction of Ralf Gjoni, adviser of the Head of Parliament, Ilir Meta, who wrote on a FB post: “The old communist, as Minister of Internal Affairs, is more likely to deteriorate the political situation in the country.” Later he deleted his FB status, stating that unknown people had intervened in his personal account by writing the above-mentioned statement.
The reaction of the opposition to electing Fatmir Xhafa as Minister of Internal Affairs was immediate. Former Prime Minister Sali Berisha stated that those citizens who know Xhafa, consider him as a harsh communist, who during Communism fought fiercly against the enemies of the Party, by putting them in prison. He accompanied his statement with an old photo of the new minister with dictator Enver Hoxha, when Xhafa was the Socialist Youth Secretary.
Regarding the recent movements within the socialist government, Lulzim Basha, the head of the opposition, who is leading the protests of democrats on the boulevard, asking for the overthrow of actual government, stated: “We know that ministers who left are loyal servants of the prime minister Rama, who is at the head of crime and corruption in the country. So, their dismissal does not misguide us from our demands; on the contrary, it encourages us to continue with our protests until the end. Our movement will not quit, unless the old republic that considers elections as a possibility to conquer power and governance and not as a holistic democratic temple, is demolished.