Greece reacts to termination of elected mayor's mandate in Albania

Balkans
Sun, 7 Jul 2024 11:40 GMT
Beleri was detained on 12 May 2023 on charges of "active electoral corruption".
Greece reacts to termination of elected mayor's mandate in Albania

Greece reacted to the decision of the Albanian Central Election Commission (KQZ) to terminate the mandate of the elected mayor of Himara, Greek politician Alfred Beleri.

"The decision of the KQZ to invalidate Beleri's mandate even before he was sworn in as mayor is an unprecedented practice and a pre-signalled outcome of a process that raises many questions about the basic principles of the rule of law," the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a written statement."Greece had expressed its concern about the violation of the presumption of innocence, the clarity of the process, the refusal to allow the swearing-in ceremony, the disproportionate punishment imposed, and the fact that the municipality of Himara has been governed for a year by persons without legitimacy." Noting that Beleri was elected as an MP from Greece in the European Parliament (EP) elections in June, the statement called on Albania to take the necessary measures to ensure that Beleri could take his place in the EP plenary session on 16 July.

Albania's Central Election Commission (KQZ) decided today to declare Beleri's two-year prison sentence for "active corruption in elections" invalid due to the conviction and terminated his term of office early.

Since Albanian law stipulates that a person convicted of "active electoral corruption" cannot be elected or nominated as an MP or mayor, the way was paved for a new election to determine the mayor of Himara Municipality. What happened? Beleri was detained on 12 May 2023 on charges of "active electoral corruption".

In the investigation conducted by the Albanian General Directorate of Security, it was noted that Beleri was suspected of being involved in vote-buying activities in the sense that "he offered certain amounts of money to citizens in Himara and its villages in exchange for voting for one of the candidates competing in the election". In the local elections held on 14 May 2023, Beleri was elected Mayor of Himara. The Albanian Special Court for Corruption and Organised Crime ordered Beleri's arrest on 22 May 2023. Beleri's arrest caused reactions from political parties and officials in Albania and Greece.

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