Kozeta Cika contributed to this article.
Rama-Basha intense efforts for an agreement were finalized today (May 18th), lifting the Democratic Party’s tent from the boulevard. The agreement between the two parties came after negotiations were made by the US Assistant Secretary, Hoyt Lee, for nearly four days. This agreement was achieved by relying on the integrated proposal of the MCAllister package. The deal made after three hours of head-to-head talks between Lulzim Basha and Edi Rama, was concluded with hand shaking between the two parties at the Palace of Congresses, where the discussions were held.
Even though during these months of political crisis, the socialist Prime minister had declared many times that there would be no election postponement, he was forced to finally accept it. The new election date will be June 25. Lulzim Basha, on his part, abandoned the idea of electronic voting, while it was decided that in the future a new ministry, to take into account his proposal, will be established.
This tense situation gave “birth” to an agreement for a government that can not be called technical; in fact there is no name to identify it. According to the agreement, 6 ministries are taken into administration by the Democratic Party, as well as one of the deputy Prime Ministers. The “sacrificed” socialist ministers are: Minister of Justice, Minister of Finance, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Education, Minister of Social Welfare&Youth and Minister of Health.
The Minister of Internal Affairs elected two months ago, Famir Xhafa, was forcefully opposed by DP, as having an unclear past connected to the communist period. However, after his arrival at the head of this ministry, tons of drugs were caught and destroyed.
Even the heads of Electrical Energy Distribution Operator, Legalization Office, Mortgage Office, the director of the Agricultural and Rural Development Agency, and the General Director of Prisons will be removed. The newly appointed directors will be nominated by the opposition. Even the heads of independent bodies, like the Ombudsman and the Chairman of the Central Election Commission, will also be changed. Another measure to be taken after the agreement is the removal or prevention of people with criminal records that hold public posts, in addition to opposition participation in the national task force for the fight against narcotics.
Another important issue discussed was public administration, for the detention of assets, property and human administration resources, as well as the prohibition of pressure on the administration staff, regardless which level they belong to, in favor of the political entities. The suspension of any interim contract initiation at central and local level was the next point to be settled.
Prime Minister Edi Rama, in a meeting with the Socialist Party representatives appeared happy for the agreement reached. He stressed that they will not allow anyone to damage the opposition or violate their rights. The election race is not meant to hinder the other, but to be first in the run.
He continued that it is very important once again to prove that we are different. If the current opposition was in our place, they would not have lent an ear to our requirements or plead us to enter parliament and take part in the coming elections.
The former DP Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, wrote on FB: “Through this agreement, the country won! The leaders of the two main parties signed an agreement that gave them a solution to one of the most dangerous political crises in the last 26 years, which has taken over the country for several months. In this context, I think that every Albanian must feel really relieved for this political solution that seriously threatened Albania, the existence of political pluralism and the constitutional foundations of our democratic country, social peace and its stability”.
Meanwhile, the Socialist Movement for Integration Party, which was SP alley in the last four years, in the same way as it was in coalition with DP in the penultimate legislature, has not expressed any reaction yet. According to the agreement, one of the sacrificed ministers, Health Minister, Petrit Vasili, belongs to SMI.
The electoral campaign for June elections will formally start in a week’s time.
For three whole months, the political and economic situation in the country remained in stagnation. Finally, Albania seems to be getting back to its normality.