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New Shkodra City Council established amid tension and protests

TIRANA, Aug. 20 – The establishment of the new Shkodra City Council took place under tense conditions on Monday. 

Hundreds of opposition supporters protested with calls against the government and Prime Minister Edi Rama, attempting to break the police line several times to break into the indoor environments where the meeting was taking place. 

Monday’s protest was announced a day earlier by the local branch of the opposition’s Democratic Party and was attended by former MPs and leaders of the party. 

In this atmosphere, the 51 municipality consultants of Shkodra who emerged from the June 30th local elections took the oath and elected the mayor and three vice-presidents of the new City Council, which will replace the previous one. 

New members of the Shkodra District Council were also elected, comprised by five municipalities.

The current Chairwoman of the District Council Greta Bardeli Gjoni, who was present at the meeting, reacted strongly, calling it unconstitutional. After leaving the room, Bardeli said the people of Shkodra will know how to react.

“This meeting today is illegitimate, it is unconstitutional, it is a meeting outside of any standard offered by the Albanian Constitution. And you should know that you won’t just keep constitutional, but also penal responsibility,” Bardeli said.

One of the highlights of Monday’s meeting was the declaration of the validity of the mandate of the Mayor of Shkodra, Valdrin Pjetri, who has been accused by the Democratic Party of being convicted in Italy of drug trafficking and of lying in the decriminalization form. Newly elected Head of the City Council, Brisela Truma, announced that, under Valdrin Pjetri’s resignation, he does not receive the mayor’s mandate from the City Council.

Regarding the new mayor of Shkodra, SP MP Senida Mesi, present at the establishment of the City Council, said that the mandate of the current mayor, Voltana Ademi, has now expired.

Vice Interior Minister Romina Kuko held the same stand, saying at the conclusion of the meeting that the constitution of the new Shkodra Municipal Council was legal on Monday and finalized the establishment of 61 municipal councils across the country.

But the current mayor of Shkodra, Voltana Ademi, belonging to the Democatic Party, declared from the City Hall where opposition supporters had gathered after the protest that she would continue to serve as mayor.

“I will be in charge and responsible on the other hand to be the mayor of Shkodra until the moment, as soon as possible for all of us, not only for Shkodra but for all Albania, when we Albanians, we Shkodra, enter fair and free elections, where everyone can vote freely,” she said.

Under these conditions, it is not clear who will run the municipality of Shkodra, a municipality that has been run by the Democrats since 1992, with the exception of the 1996 local elections, when a newly emerging political force won, the Shkodra United Right.

Ademi, who has also run for four years the Association of Right-wing Mayors, has fought a decisive battle, all the way to the Constitutional Court, against the June 30 local elections and Monday’s polls, calling them unconstitutional and in opposition to the President Ilir Meta’s decree. 


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