Key Rama Critic Quits Albania's Ruling Party

Ben Blushi, one of the most outspoken MPs in Albania's ruling Socialist Party, on Friday said he was quitting the party.

Over the last three years he has become a persistent critic of party leader and Prime Minister Edi Rama, accusing him of undermining internal democracy and of making serious mistakes in government.

The former journalist and author joined the Socialist Party in 1997 and from 2001 to 2002 served as Education Minister. From 2002 to 2005 he was Minister for Local Government and Decentralisation.

Recently, he criticized the legislative initiative to allow waste imports into Albania again for recycling.

In an open letter published in Panorama newspaper on Friday - announcing his separation with the party - he symbolically related the country's parties to the issue of waste.

"In Albania, you have to clean up the parties in order to clean up the rubbish dumps," he wrote.

In the same letter, Blushi accused fellow MPs of obeying the party leader without caring what was wrong or right.

Skender Minxhozi a political analyst and editor-in-chief of Java News portal, told BIRN that Blushi's departure would deprive the Socialists of an asset but also eroded the chances of implementing internal party democracy.

"With Blushi leaving, the PS is less pluralist and has less diversity and room for all those who have a different opinion," he said.

On the other hand, Minxhozi said the continuous debate between Blushi and Rama had started to become bitter and personal, although he said that "the PM has the biggest responsibility for letting the situation going so far".

It is not clear if other Socialist MPs will follow Blushi, although Minxhozi suggest Mimoza Hafizi - another Socialist MP who supports Blushi's...

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