Albania's opposition calls for PM to resign

Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama speaks during an interview with AFP in Tirana, Albania, on Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama speaks during an interview with AFP in Tirana, Albania, on April 8, 2019. Albania’s opposition is calling on him to resign. (Photo: AFP/Gent SHKULLAKU)

TIRANA: Albania’s right-wing opposition turned out to a tense rally in Tirana Saturday (Apr 13), calling on Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama to resign, an AFP journalist at the scene said.

Thousands of people who had responded to a Democratic Party call forced a police cordon and approached the seat of government, staining its facade with ink.

They then moved towards the nearby house of parliament, firing firecrackers and setting off smoke bombs.

The protestors chanted “Rama go away,” “corrupted government”, and “parliament of crime!”

Democratic party leader Lulzim Basha addressed the crowd, and demanded early elections and a transitional government.

“I call you to resistance and insurgency to oust Rama,” he said.

The opposition has been demonstrating for two months calling for the resignation of Rama, who has held office since 2013.

Deputies from both the centre-right and centre-left opposition have quit the parliament, accusing the government of manipulating the results of a June 2017 legislative election.

Some opposition MPs have decided to stay on however, and so far the majority has managed to obtain a quorum and pass legislation.

Albanian political life is marked by verbal violence, with left- and right-wing parties exchanging insults and accusing each other of corruption or links to organised crime.

Tirana nevertheless hopes to open accession talks with the European Union later this year.