June 24, 2019

Will Albania abandon democracy?

Elections are set for June 30 but an escalating political crisis could derail the vote.

Growing political tension in Albania is putting the country’s local elections in jeopardy and sparking violent demonstrations.

The crisis bubbled over in February when the opposition Democratic party withdrew from parliament.  Since then, opposition supporters have been protesting across Albania. Demonstrators are accusing Prime Minister Edi Rama of corruption and demand he steps down, a move that would trigger new national elections. Rama won a second four-year term in 2017.

The country’s president, Ilir Meta, had called off the June 30 elections because only the government’s ruling Socialist Party had put forth candidates.

"Having elections on June 30, 2019, without competition and without the opposition's participation - in violation of a key Copenhagen criteria for free and fair elections - would freeze the country's EU integration progress [and] undermine any prospect of opening accession negotiations," Meta told Al Jazeera’s John Psaropoulos.

Rama has vowed that elections will continue as candidates from the Socialist party continue campaigning. Meanwhile, protesters have been setting fires at polling locations and destroying election materials.

On this episode of The Stream, we ask our panel - with democracy on the line, what will become of the June 30 elections? 

On this episode we speak to:


Elisa Spiropali @elisaspiropali
Minister of State for Parliamentary Relations


Vincent Triest @VincentTriest


Belind Kellici @BKellici
Chairman, Youth Forum of Democratic Party of Albania (FRPD)