The General Directorate of the State Police stated that today, June 23rd 2013, at 08:46 hrs, a serious incident was registered outside the premises of “At Shtejfën Gjeçovi” high school in the city of Laç, northwest of Albania. As a result, Socialist Movement for Integration (SMI) supporter and resident of Laç, Gjon Gjoni lost his life, whereas the Democratic Party candidate Mëhill Fufi was injured and is currently receiving special care at the regional hospital of Lezha. DP supporter Kastriot Fufi was also seriously injured during the incident and according to medical personnel displays precarious health conditions. Police authorities of the Lezha District reached the area immediately after the incident took place and is currently carrying out investigations in view of identifying the perpetrators.
In a follow-up to the incident, Socialist Party leader Edi Rama, and Socialist Movement for Integration leader Ilir Meta travelled to the city of Laç. Mr. Meta expressed distrust and made direct accusations against the State Police, saying, “The State Police is working to manipulate the elections in favor of the Democratic Party. We will protect the ballots in Laç, Mamurras and all over Albania. Sali Berisha cannot leave power without blood. He will leave [power] at any cost. This is a done deal.” Rama stated that the socialists will protect every vote: “This is an attempt to frighten people and to change the will of the Albanian people. The police must serve the citizens and the elections.”
In response, the head of the DP candidate list in the Lezha district and the current Minister of Foreign Affairs of Albania, Mr. Aldo Bumçi, stated that: “We condemn violence. Violence has no color and political affiliation. State Police are trying to investigate the incident and politicians should refrain from intolerable language. Mr. Rama and Mr. Meta are taking an unacceptable stance, came and took the role of the prosecutor and the judge. Hot heads do not serve anything, so they must distance themselves from this aggressive language.”
The head of the European Parliament delegation for relations with South Eastern Europe, Mr. Eduard Kukan, who is also leading the EU Parliament observing delegation to Albania, after meeting Rama, suggested: “Violence is unacceptable in elections, but should be investigated. One should not draw preliminary conclusions and keep from making statements.”