Albanian PM and President Battle Over Road Project
The rift between Albania's ruling Socialist Party and President Ilir Meta widened on Sunday after Prime Minister Edi Rama accused Meta of acting as the head of the opposition - after he urged the government to cancel a project to demolish homes to make way for a new stretch of road in the capital.
Meta called on Prime Minister Rama to abandon the project after meeting some of the protesters opposing the demolitions on Sunday. The homes are intended for demolition so that the outer ring road in Tirana can be enlarged.
The President has claimed that the project violates the law and that the procurement process has been manipulated.
In a 15-page analysis of the project, published on the President's website, Meta listed dozens of alleged violations of human rights and procurement procedures.
Rama took to Twitter to express his fury. "The truth is that IM [Ilir Meta] is now the most serious leader of the opposition," Rama wrote.
"He reads the constitution exactly like them. He hates the government equally. He urges chaos like them. However, unlike them, he gets his advisors to write tons of 'legal' non-sense," he added.
Tirana's Mayor, Erion Veliaj, who was once a loyal ally to Meta, joined the debate, claiming 99 per cent of locals want the project to go ahead and accusing the President of supporting "the alternative of chaos".
Tedi Blushi, the President's spokesperson, retorted by claiming that "100 per cent of citizens are disgusted by the shameful corruption" of the project.
This is just the latest clash between Rama and Meta.
In January, the pair rowed over Meta's decision not to approve Rama's nomination of Gent Cakaj as the new foreign minister. That led to Rama taking over the job himself.