9th legislative session, the parliament of debates on Interior ministers and foreign policies

9th legislative session, the parliament of debates on Interior ministers and foreign policies
A legislative session accompanied by the typical brawls between MPs, but one which also produced many novelties compared to the previous ones. This is how we can describe the 9th legislative parliamentary session, which officially put an end to its proceedings yesterday. This session started last September, following the June 25th general elections, which gave way to a new political reality in the country: new opposition coalition between DP and SMI and a full socialist majority with 74 seats in Parliament.

This majority has recently been joined by two MPs of the Party for Justice, Integration and Unity. In this aspect, we can say that parliament offered a real “arena” of debates. This time with a Democratic Party which had its leader, Lulzim Basha present in it, but also with a Socialist Movement for Integration with Monika Kryemadhi as its chair, following the resignation of Ilir Meta, who was elected president. It looked as if this legislative session was going to be like other ones, with the usual debates between MPs, but in fact, in none of them we’ve seen so many attacks being launched against two Interior ministers as we saw during this legislative session. So, as far as former minister Saimir Tahiri is concerned, a special inquiry committee was appointed to investigate on him. Following the numerous and heated debates of the opposition, others would be following during the second session this year, but this time, they were directed at the current Interior minister, Fatmir Xhafaj, who was attacked about his brother and his alleged ties to the international drug traffic. On the other hand, in its last sitting, this parliamentary legislative session could not pass an important bill “On the Status of Judges and Prosecutors”, which requires 84 votes. This way, parliament had to postpone for autumn the most important bill which aims at resolving the gridlock created in Albania’s top institutions with the start of the vetting process.

Election of the new interim prosecutor general, a debate which set parliament on “fire”

Parliament ended the first part of this legislative session amid tension and teargas bombs, due to the political debate provoked by the appointment of the new prosecutor general, Arta Marku. Voted on 18 December 2017,  in what was a very tense session, with 69 votes in favour, 2 votes against and 2 abstains, the new prosecutor general could not secure the votes of the opposition. The opposition went as far as threatening that it would give up on its mandates, but this was not the case. Meanwhile, even today, one of the opposition’s main priorities is to remove Marku from the post that she holds. On the other hand, another heated debate taken place during this parliamentary legislative session was the one on the building of the National Theater, which ended with the voting of the bill that allows its construction. Once again, the bill was only voted with the votes of the majority, while the opposition continues to reject it. Another initiative that the opposition has rejected is the one concerning the appointments in the justice system, as part of the reform taking place in it; a reform which also has the backing of the international community. In the past nine months, the opposition has strongly rejected the issue concerning the lists of candidates for members of the High Prosecution Board or the candidates for members of the High Judicial Board. All of this has taken place as part of the heated debates concerning the results of the justice reform and the vetting process, which were present in each parliamentary sitting.

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