Albania’s opposition parties said Monday they plan to hold a national protest in a western city that is holding local elections, a possible warning that they plan to disrupt voting. The city of Kavaja is holding an election on May 7 because the former mayor’s mandate was canceled due to his criminal past. Lulzim Basha, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, said a rally would be held the same day to prevent “facade elections.” The opposition doesn’t trust the left-wing government to hold the election in a fair manner. They think the current coalition government will manipulate the vote by buying ballots with drug money.
The Democratic Party said it would not register with the Central Election Commission and thus would be boycotting the elections in Kavaja, as well as the national parliamentary election vote scheduled for June 18, unless government agrees to create a caretaker cabinet to rule until then.
The opposition also is boycotting Parliament, preventing the start of judicial reforms that would allow Albania to launch membership talks with the European Union.