Speech of Prime Minister Edi Rama in plenary session in Parliament:
The Minister of Education told me that we have here some student journalists. I welcome them and wish them with all of my heart that they will be ready to supply journalism with some new and clean blood as soon as possible.
Today we will continue with the third round for the election of the President of the Republic. We’ve been and remain still to this day faithful to the line we have made public, namely that we want to elect a president for all the Albanians, and we would like very much the DP to take part in this process. That is why we have welcomed the first point of the compromise platform proposed by the European People’s Party envoy in order to elect a president who is as far as possible consensual. But, apparently, it is not possible yet to predict when the Democratic Party will return to the path of reason.
The deadline for the registration of candidates for the elections of June 18 expires tomorrow, and of course we will respect the deadline and certainly we will also respect the date set by the President of the Republic, based on the Constitution of the Republic, to go before the people and have their judgment on this mandate that is heading towards its end.
On the other hand, I am glad to re-emphasize the fact that we proved once again not in words but with facts that what we have repeatedly said, namely that we are ready for unconditional dialogue, is sincere and true. We have openly welcomed the European People’s Party envoy, a senior personality of the European Parliament, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission and one of the most important representatives of Chancellor Merkel, together with MEP Knut Fleckenstein, and we accepted within a few seconds the compromise platform proposed by them.
They proposed a dialogue table after they met the DP Chairman. We went to the dialogue table, again with open arms, to talk unconditionally, to find a reasonable solution and, unfortunately, what we found there was not the DP and the DP Chairman, but again our international friends and partners. I wish this scenario will never repeat in the history of Albanian politics, where the two sides sit in different rooms, with foreign assistance, to communicate with one another.
We have been put on the table also two new proposals outside the platform, in an attempt to find a compromise. We have been proposed a postponement of the election date by July 16, and the opportunity to make changes in key positions of the government related to sectors where it is thought that the government might have a direct influence on the elections. My answer has been very clear. I have said neither “yes” nor “no”. I’ve only said that we are open, we will discuss it, but without the Vetting we have nothing else to discuss.
Which means that the Vetting is the reason why the Parliament has been mutilated.
The Vetting is the reason why the tent has been set up.
The Vetting is the reason why the Democratic Party does not go to the polls.
The Vetting is also the most essential reason of our struggle to reform justice.
It did not take long, just a few minutes and we heard that the DP Chairman has left.
We are in these conditions today and we continue to think that it would be good for all parties to go before the people. But we continue to think also that no one can stop the people from exercising their right to judge the parties on the day established by the Constitution. And meanwhile we are committed to a clear, clean, complete, free and fair election process for all those who will participate.
I was just informed by the Minister of Education that a video has been posted in the media, showing a teacher who tells her students that they should go a meeting we have in Kavaja. Based on the issued order, the minister has dismissed and removed the teacher from the education system. I want to say once again today, loud and clear for all the teachers of the Republic of Albania, that every teacher is free and has the right to engage with any political party, they are free and have the right to speak to first-time voters, to young people, to their colleagues, to anyone, but they are in flagrant violations, not only in violation of the law but also of the ethics of the school we want, when they do this in classrooms and in schools.
People have sent us plenty of videos and pics showing teachers and students in the tent, and there is no single evidence that anything has happened to them.
For us it is clear and very simple, school is school, classrooms are classrooms, school yards are school yards, and within that space the state is a guarantor of all the children, students, teachers, that they are free to exercise their activity within the school, without being threatened, ordered, or suggested to participate in political activities.
Just as outside the school walls, everybody is free to do what they want. If you tell me about one teacher who engages in politics in the classroom, he or she will be expelled from the system. If we are shown teachers who engage in politics outside the school walls, I will just greet them with the utmost respect if they are our supporters, if they support our reforms, if they support our path. They are free to do so. This is a clear and simple division. The border is the school.
The task-force of the Ministry of Education set up to monitor with greater rigorousness any kind of political event, or any kind of individual or group activity within the school walls, will identify and punish any such phenomenon. Otherwise, we say one thing but do another one. But it’s not us who “say one thing but do another one”. It is not the SP. It is not this government that is struggling so much to give this country a state and to do the reforms that will make of Albania a serious state in every sector, definitely, starting from school.
This is a call to all MPs and to all our activists to keep going with this spirit and with this will. To do whatever is possible to have as many people, as many teachers, as many students and first voters join us, but never do this by using the state or crossing the line that separates school and state from politics and parties.
I want to re-emphasize that we will continue with the process the same way we have done so far, and elections will take place on June 18, as there is no place for games and of course the time for dialogue is also expiring. We don’t play games with the 1 million people who have placed their trust in us to govern, reform and make Albania a state, and to organize free and fair elections, which are the first free and fair elections organized by the state with this government.
Let’s be clear about it. Many talk of a political crisis, many talk of a crisis that is dramatic, tragic, and I don’t know what. To me, it has always been and remains the nervous crisis of the Democratic Party.