TIRANA, Albania, May 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
Edi Rama, the Prime Minister and leader of the Socialist Party of Albania (SP), today welcomed his agreement with the opposition Democratic Party, ending a three-month stalemate over the opposition's resistance to a program to remove corrupt judicial system officials from office.
Under the agreement, the judicial vetting system, a European Union requirement before Albania's accession negotiations can begin, will now proceed prior to the elections. This constitutes a major victory for the prime minister who has been the main backer of the vetting despite strong political resistance. "Today we celebrate something very important: the victory of vetting, and as we fought for vetting we will fight and work to win against unemployment," Mr Rama told supporters Thursday evening. "The fact that we reached an agreement, even at the last moment, shows that in the end Albania is a state with a strengthening democracy, which respects European values and deserves to continue its path to the European Union." As part of the agreement, the elections will be delayed by one week, to June 25, which is in line with the country's constitution.
Judicial reform and successful implementation of the vetting law are the key milestones that were designated by the European Commission for Albania in order to commence accession negotiations. "Our democracy is incomplete without the rule of law," Mr. Rama said. "We must have confidence that our legal system is not being subverted by corrupt judges and corrupt prosecutors. We also need to continue and succeed in our fight with the drugs scourge, a problem that our government inherited and that we have pledged to combat vigorously. And for that we need our judges and courts to be beyond reproach."
Mr. Rama paid credit to and thanked EU parliamentarians and officials and US officials whose efforts ultimately led to a package of concessions agreed to by opposition leaders in the early hours of Thursday.
About the Socialist Party of Albania
The Socialist Party of Albania, led by PM Edi Rama, is a social democratic political party which came to power in 2013 pledging extensive institutional reform and a stronger economy. As a result of the government reforms, the nation's budget deficit has been reduced substantially, tax revenues have risen dramatically and restored confidence in the economy led to a 10.5% rise in foreign direct investment and 3.6% GDP growth in 2016.
The Socialist Party of Albania is an associate of the Party of European Socialists (PES) and a member of the Socialist International.
SOURCE Socialist Party of Albania