Greek FM strongly condemns Albania’s decision to scrap Beleri’s mandate

Greek FM strongly condemns Albania’s decision to scrap Beleri’s mandate

Greece’s Foreign Ministry condemned Albania’s decision to declare invalid the mandate of ethnic Greek Fredi Beleri as mayor of the the southern Albanian region of Himare, calling it a “pre-ordained outcome” fraught with legal issues. 

Beleri was elected as mayor of the southern Albanian town on May 14, 2023, but just two days before the election, he was arrested on charges of vote-buying and subsequently sentenced to two years in prison.

Earlier on Friday, Albania’s Central Electoral Commission revoked his mandate

Last month, Beleri was elected as a Member of the European Parliament with Greece’s ruling New Democracy party. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis decided to nominate him to address alleged injustices in Albania.

In its statement, the Greek Foreign Ministry criticized the decision as a violation of the rule of law, pointing out that Himare has been led by unqualified officials for the past year. The ministry called on Albanian authorities to ensure that Beleri, now a member of the European Parliament, is permitted to attend sessions beginning July 16 in Strasbourg, France.

“The puzzle – inspired and executed from the beginning to the end by [Prime Minister Edi] Rama – has been completed,” Beleri said in a statement. “His plan from the very beginning was to prevent me from taking up my duties as elected mayor of Himare.”

Beleri condemned his arrest as a “coup” and described his trial as a “farce,” alleging that a witness had been bribed by Albanian police to provide false testimony. He accused Rama of orchestrating his ouster and criticized the flawed judicial process.

Beleri took issue with the presiding judge, who is barred from entering Greece due to forgery, and the appointment of an unelected appellate court president, arguing that these issues undermined the fairness and integrity of the proceedings.

He can appeal the decision within 30 days and plans to do so within a week. If the decision is upheld, early elections for Himare must be held within 40 days.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.