Pressure continues on the government of Albanian Prime Minister Rama to quit, local elections cancelled

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The streets of Tirana were once more paralyzed Sunday as Albanian opposition leader Lulzim Basha again brought thousands of his supporters onto the streets of the Albanian capital in his push for the government of Prime Minister Edi Rama to quit.

Rama has repeatedly rejected calls for his resignation and denies allegations of corruption made against him.

Opposition protest in Tirana
Supporters of the opposition shout anti-goverment slogans while holding a sign thanking the journalist of Der Bild Piter Tiede which has published some recordings of drug dealers speaking of buying votes for the socialist party which governs the country during a protest in Tirana, Albania. photo: EPA-EFE/MALTON DIBRA

Albanian President Ilir Meta has cancelled local elections after months of anti-government protests.

Meta said the political situation in Albania would not allow for fair elections, scheduled for 30 June.

The announcement came after weeks of protests aimed at forcing socialist Prime Minister Rama stand down.

Rama insists elections will go ahead as planned. For months now, Mr Rama has been at odds with the president – a former coalition ally.

The EU Commission has recommended that the European Council approve accession talks for Albania and North Macedonia when it meets at the end of the month.

Albania’s acting foreign minister Gent Cakaj met with Federica Mogherini, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, on Friday.

Mogherini’s spokesperson said in a statement that the renewed recommendation of the EU Commission was an acknowledgement of the “tangible results of the comprehensive and thorough justice reform” and of the country’s “achievements in the fight against corruption and organised crime”.

The EU delegation to Albania said in a statement ahead of the protests that it continues to urge all sides to “engage in a constructive dialogue to overcome the current political situation”.

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