Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said on March 9 that the leader of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) Lulzim Basha must face prosecutors after a scandal erupted over alleged Russian lobbying for Albania’s Democrats in the US. Rama’s comment came after US publication Mother Jones reported on March 6 that Albania’s Democratic Party indirectly received secret funds from Russian sources in the US during last year’s parliamentary election. It also said that Russian-related companies were secretly active in the US to meddle in the election. “The truth about this issue will be definitely unveiled,” Rama said in a Facebook post on March 9.
According to EU-oriented Rama, this is a question that has to do with Albania’s interests and the road of the country toward EU accession.
Albania’s Democrats, which suffered a decisive defeat at the hands of Rama’s Socialists in the June 2017 election, rejected such allegations. In a March 11 statement, Democratic MP Enkelejd Alibeaj claimed Rama was using the scandal to distract from suspected links between former interior minister Saimir Tahiri and accused the prime minister’s brother Olsi Rama of being involved in drug smuggling.