Albanian Minister Says Attacking Corruption Got Him Fired
Albania's Minister of Justice, Ylli Manjani - from the junior coalition party, the Socialist Movement for Integration, LSI - has accused Prime Minister Edi Rama of sacking him for speaking out against corruption.
Rama's order sacking Manjani was published without argumentation on the Council of Minister website and accompanied by the proposal to appoint Petrit Vasili, also from the LSI, as his successor. President Bujar Nishani is expected to decree the changes.
Journalists asked Rama after a party meeting about the official reason for Manjani's dismissal but he did not want to comment. Instead the vice-prime minister, Niko Peleshi, said Manjani's comments at the press conference showed that this decision was right. "His outburst in the conference showed why he could not be in the government longer," he said.
The press office of Prime Minister Rama later sent BIRN the formal reason for his dismissal, saying it was aimed at "improvement of the quality of the government and the better coordination of the work with parliament, and other stakeholders in moving forward the judicial reform".
Less than an hour that his removal was made public, Manjani held a press conference, slamming Rama and his ministers.
He claimed he was removed for speaking his mind in the media and accused Rama of dismissing him for exposing the government's misdeeds.
"I opposed an initiative of the ministry of Energy on road lighting since I found it corrupt, but the government passed it on the day that I was absent from the Council of Ministers," he noted.
He also said he had developed a hostile relationship with Rama and the government after declaring that the army needed to intervene to cleanse the territory of cannabis cultivation.