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BIRN: SP withdraws the Criminal Amnesty, there is no consensus on reducing the sentence of the corrupt

BIRN: SP withdraws the Criminal Amnesty, there is no consensus on reducing the

The opposition opposed the last-minute changes made in the laws committee, where socialist deputies and the Ministry of Justice paved the way for the inclusion of public officials convicted of corruption or abuse of office in the category of beneficiaries, abusing an amendment submitted to the Assembly by the opposition .

This change in the draft law gives a reduction of 1 year in prison for men convicted by the Special Court and 1 and a half years in prison for women and minors convicted by the same court - which mainly examines criminal offenses related to corruption, abuse of office and organized crime.

The President of the Assembly, Lindita Nikolla, announced that the socialist group had requested the withdrawal from the agenda without giving an argument for the reason for the withdrawal, even though it was clear that the SP did not have the right number of votes to approve it.

Attempts to reach consensus through amendments proposed by MPs from opposition groups did not go well.

The head of the democratic group, Gazment Bardhi, said after the plenary session that the socialists tried to deceive public opinion by billing the opposition for the changes that benefited those convicted of corruption.

"Because they couldn't reach their bargains, they withdrew the law on amnesty, from a humanitarian law, from which ordinary citizens should have benefited, transformed to amnesty ministers, mayors, directors, corrupt this government" - he said, calling this thing "unacceptable".

According to him, the approval in the commissions was done with a non-transparent procedure and he added that, "with such a procedure and without consensus with the opposition, there can never be a vote of any oppositionist".

The head of the Parliamentary Group of the Socialist Party, Bledi Çuçi, said that the SP has solid votes in the Parliament, but the bill on amnesty was withdrawn in respect of a parliamentary tradition of voting on amnesties.

"We have solid votes. There are others within the parliament who vote for amnesty. We will see what happens in the coming days. Today we withdrew it in respect of the tradition to vote it with full consensus", stated Çuçi in a communication with the media outside the Parliament.

The approval of the Criminal Amnesty requires a qualified majority of 84 votes and the ruling Socialist Party is looking for allies among the opposition parties to approve it.

According to the government, 700 convicts and 2,500 people on probation are expected to benefit from the amnesty, while 1,200 to 1,600 convicts can benefit from a reduced sentence./ BIRN

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