Albania: Eggs Fly in Parliament Over Controversial Lawmaker

Opposition lawmakers in Albania tried to stop a Parliamentary session Thursday by throwing eggs at Prime Minister Edi Rama, angered by the return of a lawmaker who had been involved in an armed conflict  in his hometown, Lac, in early September 2015.

armandopregaArmando PrengaThe dispute stems from a law adopted in December 2015 which bars those with criminal convictions from public office.

According to Balkan Insight, ruling Socialist Party lawmaker Armando Prenga, 44, returned to Parliament after the Supreme Court released him on bail. Prenga is accused of shooting 66-year-old fisherman Tom Cali during a dispute over a fishing lagoon. Prenga still awaits his final sentence in the case.

The 2015 decriminalization law was proposed following a series of political scandals regarding past criminal convictions of lawmakers, which were exposed by political opponents and journalists. Examples include former Christian Democratic Party lawmaker Mark Frroku, convicted of murder in Belgium; and Arben Ndoka, convicted of human trafficking in Italy.

The opposition Democratic Party demands that the December 2015 decriminalization law also ban any individual from politics who has been arrested during the act of injuring or murdering another individual.

Lulzim Basha, the leader of the opposing Democratic Party, says his party will boycott Parliament until an amendment is adopted.

Socialist Party lawmaker Taulant Balla says that, while the decriminalization law was adopted, Parliament has not agreed on the language requested by the Democratic Party. "We cannot amend the law for a single person," Balla said. "We can work together only on issues (on which) we have already agreed."

Furthermore, the Socialist Party says the behavior of the opposition on Thursday is "punishable", and has announced it will seek to have three Democratic Party lawmakers banned from Parliament for 10 days.

The fracas in Parliament is a setback for Albania on its path to joining the European Union.