Albanian MPs Go on Hunger Strike

11 November 2008 Tirana – Eleven lawmakers from Albania’s smaller parliamentary parties went on hunger strike on Monday to protest agaomst proposed changes to the electoral code.

The deputies accuse the Democratic Party of Prime Minister Sali Berisha and the opposition Socialist Party, of a deal to change the electoral code, which according to them will be used to rig the parliamentary elections due to be held next year.

“We, the deputies and heads of the undersigned parliamentary parties, in protection of the constitution and free elections, have decided to go on a hunger strike to raise the public alarm of a coup d’etat which is being prepared,” reads an open letter sent to Albania’s President Bamir Topi last week.

The group has barricaded itself inside the Albanian parliament, while a small crowd of supporters staged a protests outside the building.

The signatories include the members of the Socialist Movement for Integration of former Prime Minister Ilir Meta, the Christian Democrats and deputies from a new splinter party from the Socialists, PS91.

They charge that the changes proposed by the larger parties in the electoral code are politically motivated and aim to push the smaller parties out of parliament.

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