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Albanian opposition resume protest to oust PM

Albanian opposition supporters rallied on Monday in their tenth national protest since February to pressure Prime Minister Edi Rama to quit over what they say is election fraud.

Several thousand people, some wearing shorts to cope with the summer heat, chanted for Rama to go and “Albania to become like the rest of Europe”, the 1990s cry of crowds that toppled Communism repeated now as Albania seeks to join the EU.

Albanians want true change now, final change, and we will pursue every avenue and use every tool to oust Rama from power. If he does not leave, there will be no EU integration, rule of law or justice,” opposition Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha told the crowd.

The European Union member states will decide this autumn whether to start accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia after the European Commission recommended both deserved to step closer to the affluent bloc.

Rama, who won a second term for his Socialists and himself as premier in 2017, has accused the Democrats of being sore losers and its leaders of trying to undermine a reform of the judiciary meant to end impunity for high-profile corruption.

Not all of their protests have been peaceful but Monday’s was, as was their last one.

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