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Opposition lawmakers plan to leave Albania’s parliament

February 18, 2019

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania’s center-right opposition party says its 33 lawmakers plan to resign from parliament over alleged corruption and inefficiency of the country’s Socialist government.

Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha said Monday the parliamentary group decided to hand in their mandates. Basha asked for a transition government to be put in place until an early election is held.

Eleven members of smaller opposition parties intend to join the Democrats in leaving Albania’s 140-seat parliament, where the governing Socialists hold 74 seats. A party with 18 seats, the Socialist Movement for Integration, is expected to follow.

The opposition plans to rally outside parliament on Thursday.

Basha accused the government of links to organized crime, stealing votes, and sidestepping lawmakers and the justice system.

Socialist Deputy Prime Minister Erion Brace called the resignations “unimportant.” He alleged the Democrats don’t want to have corrupt lawmakers from the party undergo required financial background checks.

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This story has been corrected to show the Democratic Party has 33 members in Albania’s parliament, not 31.

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