Albania Socialists Fall Into Line on Immunity Reform

Reversing his previous position, Socialist leader Edi Rama said his party will vote in favour of government plas to reform immunity laws – even though the government has refused to consider other reforms proposed by the opposition.Socialist leader Edi Rama said he will not stand in the way of reforms to immunity law that are essential for Albania’s EU progress.

“There are no conditions, considering that the version of the bill now in parliament was proposed by us,” Rama said on television.“Over the last political year, the Socialist Party has done more than any other political force to support Albania’s EU candidate status – more than any other party has done in the last 20 years,” Rama added.

The proposed changes, which are backed by the EU, will strip ministers, MPs, judges, the head of the State Auditing Office and the Ombudsman of their immunity from prosecution.

Earlier, Rama’s Socialist had said they would only vote in favour of the changes if they were part of a package of constitutional amendments, dealing also with the election of high court judges and the general prosecutor.

But that drew accusations from Sali Berisha’s ruling Democrats that the Socialist were wrecking Albania’s bid for EU candidate status with their delays.

Albania first applied for EU candidacy status in April 2009 – but its bid was turned down for the second time last October.

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