The assembly with a socialist majority approved the state budget for next year today, in a short session, when a group of opposition deputies protested with cigarette butts and overturning chairs, demanding investigative commissions.
The latter came early again to the plenary session hall, overturned their chairs next to the lectern, where a line of security personnel was lined up.
Some of the opposition MPs lit cigarette lighters near the lectern and at their desks in an attempt to prevent the normal development of the session, where Prime Minister Edi Rama also participated.
The head of the Assembly, Lindita Nikolla, communicated the agenda amid shouts, noises and colorful smoke, asking the opposition MPs to participate in the discussion of the new draft budget.
“Why don’t you want to discuss the budget? Why don’t you sit down and discuss investments and the increase of pensions and salaries for public service employees?”, said Mrs. Nikolla.
After calls in the hall by some opposition MPs, she started the voting process, where the new budget received the votes in favor of the left MPs.
Former Prime Minister Sali Berisha declared that the budget vote is unconstitutional by a majority afraid of opposition action.
“This majority continues to violate the constitutional rights of the opposition for parliamentary investigative commissions. The opposition action will continue without stopping to restore democracy in the country”, said Mr. Berisha.
While the leader of the parliamentary group of the Socialist Party, Blendi Çuçi, expressed surprise and regret why the opposition did not participate today in the examination of the largest budget with salary increases and investments, of over 7 billion euros, that has ever come to the Assembly.
“This is a manifestation of the internal war in the ranks of the Democratic Party. We don’t have a crisis. The opposition has a crisis”, said Mr. Çuçi.
For several sessions in a row, a group of opposition MPs are trying with this form of protest to curb the activity of the Assembly in committees and in the plenary session.
But the socialists have continued online meetings in committees and with shortened sessions in plenary sessions, where the podium is blocked with chairs by the opposition.
Representatives of the Socialist Party have stated that this group of opposition MPs have chosen this way of behavior only to protect the personal interests of former Prime Minister Berisha, who was recently declared a person under investigation by the Special Prosecutor’s Office and the Special Court against Crime and Corruption for the case of the former Partizani Sports Complex.
Mr. Berisha was declared persona non grata by the USA due to corruption and violation of democracy two years ago, an event that was followed by rapid developments in the Democratic Party, which has been divided into groups for and against him.