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"Lost chance", BIRN: The commissions of the SP-PD pact are blocked from the start due to the procedure

"Lost chance", BIRN: The commissions of the SP-PD pact are blocked

The political pact between the majority and the opposition in March ended the protest of the largest opposition grouping, known as "Reestablishment", after the majority accepted the establishment of two commissions of inquiry and a task force for electoral reform.

But despite the agreement, none of the investigative commissions has progressed from the work, remaining hostage to political clashes, debates about procedure or the refusal of the socialists to participate in the meeting.

The last meeting of the commission for the TIMS system on Monday ended with the departure of socialist members in protest against the chairman of the commission, Ervin Salianji, after the latter refused to put to a vote any request for information about state institutions.

In a previous meeting with an intermediate decision, these requests were approved en masse, but the socialist vice-president, Toni Gogu, called it "a preliminary vote" and requested a re-vote for each request for information.

On the other hand, Salianji claims that the SP is trying to impose the force of the card to block the commission's work.

"We can divide on the report, but not on the censorship to request information, we don't want to say to allow you to request information, moreover there is a commission decision on this," Salianji told BIRN, accusing members of the SP who are putting pressure on the administration of the Assembly not to post the requests for the institutions.

Meanwhile, Gogu claims that Salianji is leading the commission illegally and that the SP does not aim to block work, but to follow the law.

"We don't abandon it," Gogu told BIRN, referring to leaving the meeting, while adding that "they force us, when they don't put to a vote requests for information as required by the law on commissions and the Code of Criminal Procedure." According to Gogu, it is the opposition itself that is delaying the Commission's work since, according to him, "they spend all their time on political rhetoric".

In the same blocking situation is the investigative commission regarding the concessions of sterilization of surgical equipment and check-up controls in health, which is headed by the deputy Albana Vokshi.

In 6 meetings announced on the website of the Assembly, only 2 managed to take place, while in the other 4 meetings there was no quorum for the continuation of the meeting due to the lack of socialist members.

At the first meeting, Vokshi insisted that the members sign the declaration of conflict of interest claiming that the vice president Plarent Ndreca and the member Milva Ikonomi were in conflict with the case under investigation.

Vokshi told BIRN that the majority has boycotted 4 meetings, calling this behavior intentional to block the work of this commission.

"The law provides for the replacement of deputies who do not participate in 3 meetings in a row, and I have asked the Speaker of the Assembly to take measures to unblock the situation," she said.

Ndreca did not answer BIRN's question about the reasons for the absence and whether the SP has the will to continue the parliamentary investigation, but in public appearances he has accused Vokshi of "privatizing" the commission, calling the meetings called by her not in compliance with the parliamentary procedure.

Even if the socialists return to the commission, Vokshi says that he still fears the failure of the work due to the new legal provisions unilaterally approved by the SP in the law on investigative commissions. Changes approved by the SP in December have reduced the opposition's power to investigate through a blocking mechanism of majority vote decisions.

"They have the blocking vote of the majority, since every action of the commission must pass through intermediate decisions," Vokshi said, referring to the vote to reject the list of requests for information proposed by the opposition.

While the political parties blame each other, political observers estimate that the establishment of the commissions was used as an "alibi" for the return of the parliament to normality and that both parties are using them to legitimize their predetermined views.

Afrim Krasniqi, director of the Institute for Political Studies, an organization that monitors parliamentary work, told BIRN that "the majority is using the majority of votes to disable the parliamentary investigation", while the opposition is running these commissions "in complete prejudice".

"The two commissions are not expected to succeed and are far from the great expectation of the Albanian public for a more transparent parliament and to actually have an increase in the role of the parliament in the supervision of the executive power and other institutions," said Krasniqi.

"It will be another lost chance for the parliament to raise its standards to exercise parliamentary control over other institutions," he concluded./Reporter. al

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