Gjirokaster, public meeting as part of Municipality We Want campaign

Prime Minister Edi Rama’s remarks at public meeting as part of national campaign the Municipality We Want in Gjirokaster:

Thank you very much!

I am really sorry to see that although this sports hall is overcrowded there are many people outside wishing to enter here, but there is no room for them inside. It was not possible to hold an outdoor meeting due to the bad weather conditions so that more and more people could have attended this meeting. However, I am confident that walls won’t prevent us either to convey this atmosphere or whatever we will say during this meeting here.

I am grateful to each and every one of you for voicing your support at these moments, when Albania really needs to move forwards and we will all do so without slowing down, but instead by speeding up our pace and of course by caring about our Democrat friends, who have been betrayed by their representatives in the weirdest and unprecedented way in the history of parliamentary democracies.

By refusing the MPs’ mandates, they have not become one among the common citizens, but they have merely betrayed the citizens who have voted to represent them in parliament.

I would like to tell all Democratic Party supporters this has nothing to do with what is being said.

This has to do with what everybody knows.

First, they know pretty well that they stand no chance of defeating us in election and they have acknowledged it.

Second, Lulzim cannot stand another defeat, because those who support him, even he who has handpicked him to stay there, would no longer accept him as their leader, so he decides that it is better for him to avoid battle rather than fight and suffer defeat.

But his and his sister-like party will suffer a more humiliating defeat.

They are in a state of panic as they have figured out there is no opportunity for them to obstruct justice. They stand no chance of blocking the path to justice as they have done for years and Albanians know pretty well that the new justice will hold them accountable.

By abandoning the Assembly, just like a drowning man tries to survive by grabbing at a tuft of grass, they are desperately trying to fool people towards a path of destabilization by kindling fire and flames and then fleeing and disappearing amid smoke, hoping that by doing so they will settle their accounts with the past. But this won’t happen, no way.

It can’t work this way!

What I am telling you and everyone dear friends that it is not good at all that they leave, but it sure that they won’t succeed in their efforts to reverse Albania’s path and they will no longer be able to blow up Albania’s path to move ahead and become a normal country where things work normally for people without distinction.

Unfortunately, their actions hurt common citizens. Their actions hurt those who own a business and the consumers.

This is what has happened over these days, when they revived the ghost of violence against institutions, but that very ghost that appeared for a moment was then successfully repelled. I assure you that we are in the right and we are confident that many more will join us on our right path, as more and more people will clearly understand that the fight, clash and the disagreement policy aimed at deliberately harming the country’s interests and image is not the policy that will benefit them, neither their families, nor our country.

This country’s common citizens will soon figure out – I mean those citizens who used to trust these Parliament “fugitives” – that the right path is that of everyone taking his or her own place and that of doing what they are supposed to do honestly, successfully and strong dedication.

We are here to do exactly this.

We are here to make sure that Gjirokastra ushers in a new era of development. We have invited Gjirokastra municipality to join this coalition. I don’t want to engage in any discussions or make even the slightest comment on the Mayor of Gjirokastra, who has received our support to govern the city, but, on the other hand, it is for sure that just like it is the case of the central government, where things are moving fast and faster, many things will become much better than they used to be, the same will happen with Gjirokastra:

Many things will move ahead faster and better with us.

I believe that your participation in this meeting, your trust and support we enjoy in this whole district is not related to the fact that we have worked miracles, neither to the fact not a single person, including me, is fully satisfied with the way things go, nor to the fact that not a single person here is happy with the government.

Quite the contrary, we have come together because we know quite well that Albania of today is not the one we want, yet our faith and strength lies with the fact that Albania of today is like night and with the Albania we inherited.

We are here today because there is a long way to go and there is a lot to be done in this district. Undoubtedly, there is much you all can demand from us. There is still much all those who reside or who have emigrated from this district to demand from us.

Can Tepelena of today be compared with Tepelena of the past?

Can Libohova of today be compared with Libohova of the past?

Of course, no comparison can be drawn. People used to leave those areas and no visitor ever trod them. Today, these areas welcome visitors every single day and where we want the visitor number to grow more and more.

That’s why this battle will go on.

Just as we have considerably done for Gjirokastra. I believe we can do much more for all municipalities in Gjirokastra district compared to what we have already done over the past four years.

I would like to assure everyone, I am well aware that no social category, no interest group, no one contributing today to state servant ranks, from nurses to teachers, doctors to the public administration employees, has no reason – and I am aware of this – to be happy, but anyone who looks back to see where we started from has all the reasons to believe that this is the way and has all the reasons to continue to rely on transforming power of the Socialist Party of Albania.

I was chatting with my friends earlier and I told them that we ran a red and black election campaign, a campaign based on the two colours of our national flag and we reached out to every Albanian citizen. We won an absolute majority and a clear mandate to govern Albanians and it was as if we instilled the desire that, at a moment like this one today, we would assume the whole burden the elect should share to represent their people. The burden to represent not only you and all of those who have voted for us, but also other citizens who voted for someone else and have been left as orphans.

They were orphaned after being betrayed and abandoned and ridiculed and, above all, they are now orphans whom they want to fool and lead them by the nose.

But where to lead them by the nose?

For what?

What to set on fire?

To set what has been built on fire and set again Albania’s image on fire. An image that improved and kept improving as facts show that Albania’s tourism is growing tremendously each year and we should just work to make sure we are ready to welcome as many tourists as possible and build tourism-based economy, employment, hope and opportunities for other to come back.

Meanwhile, they want to use as cannon fodder all of those they betrayed after taking their votes to fight for some ideas they actually lack at all. To fight for a program which they lack, to fight for a vision they have never had and defend them in face of injustice, but not only they never defend them, but they never crossed their mind to do so.

We have really done so much and we really understand how much there remains to be done, but one thing is for sure. From the very first day, we have asked for your vote not to govern in coalition with others – just like they do every day, because they want the wind blowing in favour of their interests – instead we have pleaded for your vote to govern together with you by listening every one of you, listening to every complaining community, every group the protests and every individual.

We have launched the co-governance platform and thanks to your vote, every Albanian citizen, either be a Socialist or a Democrat, whether he likes us or not, if he faces injustice in the state’s offices, it would suffice for him to send a signal via phone to the address www.shqipëriaqeduam. It is just like the emergency service available to those who are wounded by the public administration.

Was there previously any address to help people when the door was slammed right in their face?

The public administration is not the one we want yet and of course the public administration still involves individuals who do not deserve to be there. There are certainly people who get hurt and insulted, but we have sided with them. We are with them every day. We are every day available to them and thousands of others to solve problems they have already failed to solve for years on.

I am pleased to invite two or three of them today to share their experience with the Co-Governance Platform.

Citizen: I used to work for a private firm and I was wrongfully dismissed. After addressing the Platform, I received a positive response in three days only. Thank you very much again. I am grateful to you.

Citizen: I am here to raise my problem regarding the Co-Governance Platform. Some friends of mine run a small business, but they faced a host of taxes as if running a big business. As soon as we referred our complaint to the Co-Governance, the problem was immediately solved in seven days only.

PM Rama: Thank you very much for sharing your accounts with us.

Who would be dealing with these people and many others should we were not governing the country?

These people and thousands of others have waited for years on to see their problems solved. It took the general election a year and a half ago so that we could directly address the citizens’ problems.

During this time, before the end of last year through the beginning of this year we have seen two protests. We have seen the students’ protest, which received whole public attention. The protest enjoyed support from whole Albanian people, as well as our support and attention. We learned a lesson from such a protest and thanks to it, every student, no matter whether their parents are Socialists of Democrats, now pay only 50% of the tuition fee rate, while best performing students with grade average point 9 to 10, and students from families receiving social welfare benefits, students with disabilities or belonging to vulnerable social categories will no longer pay a tuition fee. The government will cover their fee and it will also provide them 100 000 lek in a monthly scholarship.

This is the government that believes in listening to the people’s plea and believes in the co-governance with the citizens. This is the government that doesn’t condemn those who protest for their own rights, let alone shot them a bullet to the head.

Meanwhile, we have witnessed another kind of protest. It is a protest staged by those who were removed from power by the people five years ago, exactly for the same reasons they say they are protesting for.

Albania today faces problems with crime, corruption, it has yet a lot to do in fighting illicit trafficking of all kinds, but one should not forget that the lawless “republic of Lazarat” was just a stone’s throw away, but they had given their blessing to the so-called “cannabis kingdom” because they benefited from it, just like it was the dead silence over this phenomenon that was all over Albania.

We fought this phenomenon and highlighted our fight and it seemed as if that phenomenon was born exactly on that day. We have also fought other phenomena.

I want to assure you that our fight to eradicate cannabis cultivation, which has been already confirmed for the second consecutive year, and our determined fight for justice reform has touched interests and have caused many people and groups to fall in a state of panic.

Just like it was the case of our most recent fight, which was reported half silently, but you should also know that it has affected not people like you, but individuals who masterminded the industry of gambling in whole Albania.

It is all these affected forces and groups that are being represented today by those who claim they are handing over the parliamentary mandates and join the ordinary citizens.

Which people?

Whom you call people?

Tritan Shehu, Dashnor Aliko and 30 individuals who gathered on Viroi bridge to take a photograph and show that they blocked my way?

They were even not standing in the middle of the road.

Are they the people?

Look how ridiculous is this! Citizens vote for some individuals to represent them in the parliament. Yet these people say we will quit parliament and become ordinary people just like you. But the people don’t need them to be there, but instead want them to be in parliament that they fled, because after losing elections, they are also loosing every debate in the parliament. Ultimately, they have no other option but spend a long time of “internship” among the people, reflect and see for their own selves whether people will vote for them in the upcoming elections.

Thank you very much!