As the June 23 elections approach, political parties and coalitions are ready. But the political parties SP, DP and SMI made changes on their list of candidates for MPs. These changes have disappointed some and forced them to run for election on their own, as independent candidates for MP.
The new electoral code and the constitution of Albania create opportunities for any citizen with the right to vote to be selected as a candidate for MP. Article 45 of the constitution states: “Every citizen who has reached the age of 18, even on the date of the elections, has the right to elect and to be elected.” The electoral code adopted by consensus in the Parliament states in article 69:
1. A group of voters in one electoral zone has the right to propose for that electoral zone a candidate who meets the criteria provided for in article 45 of the Constitution and article 63 of this Code, no later than 50 days before the election date,
4. Candidates proposed by the voters are exempt from the obligation provided for in point 1 of this article if they are deputies. In this case, the candidate submits a written attestation signed by the Assembly certifying the holding of the seat for at least the last 6 months.
One of the members of the Socialist Party leadership, Arben Malaj, was left off the SP list of candidates for MPs for June 23 elections. As he left the meeting of the leadership of the Socialist Party that communicated the decision, Malaj announced that he would run as an independent candidate for MP in the district of Vlora.
“I knew and I did not agree with amendments to the Constitution, I did not agree with boycotting and blocking the functioning of Parliament. I launched a process to modernize SP, and I knew that I would have a price for all these,” said Malaj. “I can not withdraw from the obligation to serve my country. One of these obligations is to serve as an independent candidate.” Malaj was heavily criticized by many SP MPs as being a traitor, but is heavily supported by the previous chairman of SP and the previous Prime Minister Fatos Nano.
Dritan Prifti, the former deputy chairman of SMI and the former Minister of Economy, decided to make the same decision as Malaj. Prifti was registered in the district of Fier.
After the CEC approved his nomination as a candidate supported by the voters of the district of Fier, Prifti said, “I am pleased that I will have the opportunity to run again in the same district without hiding and without changing districts as most MPs do who do not keep their promises. I will work harder in the new Parliament. Ilir Meta, the head of SMI has not allowed me to run either for the SP or the left parties within the coalition, that is the reason that I will run as an independent candidate.”