The leader of the free-market opposition in Albania told Breitbart News Friday that democracy in his country is in great danger, as the left-wing prime minister Edi Rama has allowed corruption and crime to flourish there.
“Albania is in a unique and difficult situation, in a political crisis, the results of a full onslaught of organized crime on all state structures, on the rule of law, and democracy,” said Lulzim Basha, the leader of the Democratic Party of Albania.
Basha is the former mayor of Tirana, the country’s capital and largest city, and the leader of the Democratic Party of Albania. If the party wins the June 18 parliamentary elections, Basha said he becomes the new prime minister. In previous administrations, Basha held senior cabinet posts, including foreign minister.
“The problem of collusion between politics and crime is not new to the Balkans,” he said. “But, the unique problem for” Albania is the outright promotion and presence of people with terrible criminal records, convicted in European Union states for offenses, such as drug trafficking, prostitution, human trafficking and other organized crime offenses.”
Criminal gangs and groups tied to terrorists operate cannabis farms and drug distribution and warehousing organizations with immunity under the Rama government, he claimed.
In 2016, BBC highlighted the issue in a news report titled “Europe’s outdoor cannabis capital.”
While Basha was in Washington meeting with congressional leaders, members of his party have been carrying on more than 35 days of protests against the government of Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and calling for his resignation.
Among the leaders Basha met during his visit to Washington were Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chairman of the House Rules Committee; Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee; and Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee. The Dutch-educated lawyer also attended the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual dinner Monday, where President Donald Trump delivered the keynote address.
Basha also met with California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the chairman of its Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats Subcommittee.
A further complication is that Rama has a relationship with financier and international agent provocateur George Soros, the mayor said.
Basha said he believed that Rama is George Soros’ primary investment in Albania and the Balkans.
The mayor claimed that his attacks on Soros personally, and his support for President Donald Trump, have made him the target of Soros organization smears: “I have been viciously attacked by him and his people and also the international media because I am a Trump supporter.”
Rama served at a board member of the Soros Foundation in Albania and Soros funded a two-year project designed to politically transform the country in partnership with Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee was so concerned about State Department programs funding Soros’ influence in Albania and other countries that he sent a March 14 letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, co-signed by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. Tom Tillis (R-NC), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
“Over the past few months, elected officials and political leaders of foreign nations have been coming to me with disappointing news and reports of US activity in their respective countries,” Lee wrote. “This includes reports of diplomats playing political favorites, USAID funds supporting extreme and sometimes violent political activists, and the US Government working to marginalize the moderates and conservatives in leadership roles.”
The Albanian prime minister might also be the most adamantly anti-Trump leader in Europe. Basha said that at the request of Soros, Rama went on CNN to say that the prospect of Trump as president was frightening.
In April 2016, Rama told the Voice of America:
I believe that those in Albania who choose Trump before me, despite the differences between them and me, they are to be pitied. Between Lulzim Basha and Trump I will always choose Lulzim Basha, although I would never vote Lulzim Basha under any circumstances and for any reason, for nothing. However, it is not my problem if Lulzim Basha, or whoever else chooses Trump over me. It is their problem
Rohrabacher, who met Basha while in Washington, told Breitbart News he admired the patriotism and zeal he found in Basha.
“There is reason for apprehension about what’s going on in the Balkans,” said the former speechwriter for President Ronald W. Reagan. “Stability in that part of Europe is dependent on a stable and functioning Albania. There is serious concern about the corruption, drug trade and terrorism in this important nation.”
The congressman said Albania is on the front lines in the battle against radical Islam: “If we are going to defeat radical Islam and have a stable Europe, we need someone who can get the job done. Luzlim Basha, whom I have known for some time, is just the person to get that job done.”
Basha said his message to the American people is that they have invested tremendously in to support a democratic, free, and open Albania for the last the past 27 years.
“Now, the menace of organized crime and terrorism looms large over a country that has lost of its territory and borders, because of organized crime,” he said.
“I am pleading for help from the United States to help us preserve that investment, so we can live up to our responsibilities as a NATO member,” he said.