Albania MPs Back Vetting Judges and Prosecutors

31 Aug 16

Albania MPs Back Vetting Judges and Prosecutors

Albania’s parliament has adopted a law on introducing vetting for judges and prosecutors, despite opposition claims that it will result in a ‚witch hunt‘.

Fatjona Mejdini
BIRN

Tirana

Albanian Parliament while discussing ‚vetting‘ law. Photo: LSA/Malton Dibra

With 88 votes for and one abstention out of 140, Albania’s parliament on Tuesday passed a Law on Reassessment of Judges and Prosecutors, known as the „vetting“ law.

„Albanians have got confirmation that the will of majority is firm to stop the lack of justice in this country,“ Edi Rama, the Prime Minister, said after the vote, criticising opposition MPs who did not back the law.

The law will introduce background checks on Albanian judges and prosecutors related to their professional preparation, moral integrity and level of independence from organised crime, corruption and political power.

It is part of a wider judicial reform demanded by the EU and designed to cleanse the justice system of corruption and political influence.

Parliament is due to adopt six more laws to pave the way for the implementation of constitutional changes adopted unanimously on July 22.

However, the opposition led by Democratic Party boycotted the plenary session as the draft law was about to be voted on, complaining that their 28 amendments had not been taken into consideration.

The former Prime Minister, Democrat MP Sali Berisha, accused the ruling majority of planning to use the new law for a „witch hunt“.

„This vote diminishes the reform that we passed [earlier] by consensus … You are ridiculous,“ Berisha said in a heated debate with Rama.

The opposition further claimed that the formula of electing members for the Independent Commission of Qualification – tasked with vetting justice officials – is biased.

The commission will be in charge of the checking process, along with the College of Appeal and the International Monitoring Operation…..

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/albania-passes-the-draft-that-vets-judges-and-prosecutors-08-31-2016

“The cast of corrupted and incriminated justice members took a very clear message today. The will of the majority was confirmed! That will is to give this country the justice that has been denied for so many years! We are ending a shameful part of the history that stained Albania and demoralized our citizens for years, the history of justice being bought as common good”, Rama said after the voting of the vetting law, which is the core of the justice reform.

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31 Aug 16

Zagreb Mayor Plays for Premiership Prize

Zagreb’s longstanding mayor Milan Bandic is conducting a vigorous campaign to win the prime minister’s post at Croatia’s elections – even though his own political party is tiny.

Sven Milekic
BIRN

Zagreb

Milan Bandic in the elections‘ campaign. Photo: Milan Bandic 365 – Party of Labour and Solidarity

“Croatia can and must compete with others with its educated people. Therefore we must invest in people. In Zagreb, we have been doing it for nine years,” Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic told a press conference on Tuesday in the capital, promising free textbooks for the country’s pupils.

“We will do that. Keep the receipts, I publicly urge citizens to do so. And I at the first session of the government I’ll raise the issue,” he promised.

After his party, Milan Bandic 365 – Party of Labour and Solidarity, won two seats in parliament at the last elections in November 2015, Bandic has gathered some familiar faces around him to try and win the post of prime minister.

With the centre-left People’s Coalition led by Social Democratic Party, SDP and the centre-right Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, being the likely leaders in the election race, with the Bridge of the Independent Lists, MOST, as the likely kingmaker when it comes to forming a government, Bandic appears to have little chance to realising his dream without the support of a larger party.

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/zagreb-mayor-plays-for-premiership-prize-08-30-2016