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September 14, 1998 comes back, Sali Berisha and Gazment Bardhi set fire to the Parliament, SPAK and BKH start investigations for arson and violence, the international media echo the chaos in the Parliament
Written by Rigels Seliman 21 Nëntor 2023
As the "SOT" newspaper has warned for days, the former prime minister Sali Berisha and his partner Gazment Bardhi set fire to the Parliament yesterday, thus bringing back a second September 14 like the one in 1998, when the head of the "Foltor" and his lackeys attacked, violated and even occupied the institutions, under the pretext that former MP Azem Hajdari was killed by the government of the socialist era. So when it was supposed to last 2 days, yesterday's session of the Assembly for the most important law in a calendar year, that of the Budget, was consumed within 5 minutes. With stacks of chairs, smoke and this time also fire in the hall, the majority approved yesterday (November 20, 2023) in principle the draft budget and the 4 fiscal laws without any discussion. The opposition of Berisha and Bardhi started to implement the plan for chaos and 'war' in the Assembly in the early hours of the morning. More than 1 hour before the start of the session, they appeared at the doors of the Assembly building.
What was not seen yesterday
At the entrance, an increased presence of the Guard of the Republic awaited them, not only in numbers but also with stricter controls. But this did not prevent them from putting at least 7 smokers in the hall through the perfumes "Tom Ford" 275 euros each in the bags of fellow MPs. Even the Guard got into a physical confrontation, as they did not allow Berisha and his people to take the pulpit. Gazment Bardhi and Ludovik Hasani allegedly hit the Guard employee. "Where is that fraud who says that there is no guard order to line up like that. Where is that fraudster", says Gazmend Bardhi, referring to the Speaker of the Assembly, Lindita Nikolla. An hour before the start of the session, Prime Minister Rama had also arrived, who for the first time after 10 years at the head of the executive did not have the opportunity to present the budget to the legislators. Berisha had left the most important tasks in this session to the number two of Reestablishment, Flamur Noka. The height of the chairs should be as high as possible. "The pyramid should be higher", Berisha can be heard saying. Even Berisha, who at this hour would have to be in front of the judicial police officer in SPAK, who is investigating him for corruption, went live on "Facebook". At the assigned task level Flag Noka was the first to light an orange smoker, while other colorful ones followed. For this he received the next exception. For the first time in the history of parliamentarianism in Albania, there was a fire in the session of the Assembly. A lit Bledjon Nallbani smoker, which was placed on the table by deputy Flamur Hoxha, caused the flames. The fire that broke out in the Assembly hall, from a lighter and that threatened to spread even further, was ignited right at the table where Lulzim Basha sits. Basha himself was absent from this session together with the group of deputies of the Democratic Party. At the moment when the guards intervened to put out the flames, the voices of Gazment Bardhi and Edi Paloka can be heard in the background. They make fun of Basha's country by saying that let the chief democrat's country burn. The situation required the immediate reaction of the Guard of the Republic, while Gazment Bardhi was also engaged as an additional force to put out the fire of his colleagues. After the approval of 5 laws with 73 votes of the majority, Speaker Nikola closed the session, as Flamur Noka found the time to do the last act, as he threw a cigarette holder in the direction of Nikola and the Prime Minister. Meanwhile, after the end of the plenary session, where flares were thrown again by the opposition MPs and a table was engulfed in flames, the employees of the National Bureau of Investigation have arrived at the Assembly. It is learned that BKH employees have arrived to closely inspect the scene.
On the other hand, MP Gazment Bardhi also reacted, who revealed yesterday that he sent a letter to the speaker of parliament, Lindita Nikolla, and to foreign embassies in Tirana regarding today's clashes and chaos in the plenary session. In the letter sent, Bardhi states that the majority has tried to silence the voice of the opposition in the Assembly by denying legal initiatives and not allowing it to set up investigative commissions. Referring to the measures taken today in the Assembly, Bardhi writes that the Assembly hall has been transformed into a Guard hall where the guards try to intimidate the opposition MPs. So, SP deputy Erion Braçe, who did not raise his card to vote, in a reaction to the media clarified yesterday that the card was taken from him by Rithemelim MPs, so he voted by raising his hand. "I raised my hand because Salihu had taken the card from me, I couldn't find it!" So I voted with my hand up", Braçe declared.
Foreign media react
However, the chaos caused by the opposition on the day when the 2024 draft budget will be discussed, has found wide coverage in the international media. "Corriere della Sera" wrote yesterday that chaos engulfed the Albanian Parliament, after the opposition lit smokestacks and then a fire in the assembly. "The goal of the opposition is to create parliamentary commissions of inquiry to investigate suspected cases of corruption that may involve high-ranking officials of the executive branch," writes this media citing "La presse". The Greek media have also reflected the chaos in the Parliament, writing that before the smoke of the fire, security personnel were placed in front of the seat of Prime Minister Edi Rama to protect him from incidents. The Turkish media "TRT" published images from the tense session, including Sali Berisha's warning that there will be no going back until the return of parliamentarism, according to him. Also, the British network "BBC News" paid attention to the situation created in the Albanian Parliament today. On social networks, the BBC has published the images when the firecracker caught fire.