Highlights

  • Opposition lights flares in parliament
  • Protest as govt voted out immunity to former PM
  • Fromer PM accused of corruption, he cries withhunt

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India repeat in Albania: Opposition lights flares in parliament; here's why

The ruling Socialist Party agreed to grant a request from prosecutors to strip Berisha of his parliamentary immunity.

India repeat in Albania: Opposition lights flares in parliament; here's why

Albania's parliament voted on Thursday to lift the legal immunity of former Prime Minister Sali Berisha, who leads the opposition Democratic Party and is accused of corruption.

Opposition lawmakers inside the hall boycotted the vote and tried to disrupt the session by collecting chairs and flares, but security guards stopped them.

Berisha declined to take the floor to speak against the motion.

The ruling Socialist Party holds 74 of the 140 seats in Albania's national legislature, and 75 lawmakers agreed to grant a request from prosecutors to strip Berisha of his parliamentary immunity.

Thursday's vote clears prosecutors to seek a court's permission to put Berisha under arrest or house arrest.

With the opposition refusing the participate, there were no votes against the move or any abstentions.

“(The vote was) contrary to any legal procedure on immunity lifting and my arrest," Berisha told reporters after the vote.

Berisha, 79, was accused of corruption for allegedly abusing his post to help his son-in-law, Jamarber Malltezi, buy land in Tirana owned by both private citizens and the defense ministry, and to build 17 apartment buildings on the property.

Berisha and Malltezi both have proclaimed their innocence, alleging the case was a political move by the ruling Socialist Party of Prime Minister Edi Rama.

Democratic Party supporters protested outside the parliament building Thursday with anti-government banners and “Down with dictatorship” chants.

Berisha served as Albania’s prime minister from 2005-2013, and as president from 1992-1997. He was re-elected as a lawmaker for the Democratic Party in the 2021 parliamentary elections.

The United States in May 2021 and the United Kingdom in July 2022 barred Berisha and close family members from entering their countries because of alleged involvement in corruption.

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Since Berisha was charged in October, opposition lawmakers have regularly disrupted sessions of parliament to protest the Socialists' refusal to create commissions to investigate alleged cases of corruption involving Rama and other top government officials.


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