Thursday, May 20, 2010

Albania Opposition Ends Hunger Strike

Yes, it was, indeed, very good news that Albania's Socialist party has finally ended its hunger strike in opposition to the Albanian elections. To me, it continues to be a sad commentary about the two bitterly opposing political parties in Albania -Socialist and Democratic - that they appear unable to reach a level of political maturity in order to work out their political differences via negotiation, compromise, persuasion, debate, or whatever else is required to develop and otherwise agree on a agenda without resorting to international bodies outside of the country to arbitrate or to help find solutions to their political differences. Alas...

Albania Opposition Ends Hunger Strike
Tirana | 20 May 2010 |

Socialist Party MPs and their supporters ended a 19-day hunger strike on Wednesday after the country's ruling and opposition leaders agreed to hold EU-sponsored talks to end the nearly yearlong political crisis.

Socialist Party leader Edi Rama and Prime Minister Sali Berisha are expected to travel to Strasbourg on Thursday, where they will hold talks with EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele aimed at finding a compromise.

“On Thursday in Strasburg the highest representatives of the European left and right will host both parties in a roundtable to find a solution,” Rama told his supporters as he announced the end of the strike.

Rama, who is also Tirana’s mayor, and Berisha have been locked in a stalemate over the results of the June 28, 2009 parliamentary elections, which Berisha's party narrowly won.

On May 1, two dozen Socialist MPs and 180 of their supporters went on hunger strike in a tent in front of the prime minister’s office, pushing for a recount of the parliamentary election ballots.

The Socialists have boycotted parliament since the new session began in September, claiming that the government’s alleged fraud was to blame for their electoral loss.

They have conditioned their full participation in parliament on a recount of the electoral ballots of the parliamentary poll.

Although declaring his openness to a parliamentary investigation of the election, Berisha has stubbornly rejected the possibility of a recount. He argues that the opposition has exhausted all legal options and that he cannot override the judicial process.

Despite mediation by Albanian President Bamir Topi and the Council of Europe, both sides remain firm in their position, while the stalemate is hindering the country’s progress toward European Union integration.

In a letter sent to both Rama and Berisha, leaked to local media on Wednesday, the EU parliament threatened to freeze Albania’s integration process if a solution to the crisis was not reached.


At June 22, 2010 at 8:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a most informative blog. I agree with points made that "dialog" and allowing for diverse opinions to be promoted and encouraged are necessary. I also found the point made about establishing Kosovo Studies to be good. Often as in much else, it is through education that we can begin to see another's point of view. That is not to say people will agree but tolerance which leads to communication, rather than bloodshed may happen.

At June 22, 2010 at 8:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can use google translate to get this in English.
It's rough but very understandable. Before going to google translate, go to the text in Albanian & do Select All to highlight it. They "copy" and put it under google translate under categories Albanian to English. It should all be in English then.
Hope this helps.


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