Himara Municipality Elects Blerina Bala as Caretaker Mayor Amidst Controversy

Fredi Beleri

In a surprising turn of events, Himara Municipality has elected Blerina Bala as the caretaker mayor after both elected mayor Fredi Beleri and acting mayor Jorgo Goro found themselves behind bars. The decision was made by the Himara council, although the election was marred by protests in support of the jailed Beleri.

Beleri, who is currently challenging his conviction for electoral fraud, was imprisoned after allegations of wrongdoing. Meanwhile, Goro was ordered into detention on suspicions of illegally transferring state land to private individuals. The arrests have undoubtedly shaken the political landscape of the municipality.

Bala, the newly elected caretaker mayor, will remain in office until new elections can be held in Himara. The timing of these elections is contingent upon the final court decision in Beleri's case. Out of 21 members of the municipal council, 15 voted in favor of Bala, indicating a majority support for her appointment.

Prime Minister Edi Rama has hailed this election as a positive development for the continuation of local government work. However, it is important to note that Goro, a prominent member of the ruling Socialist Party, denies the allegations against him, while Beleri, an ethnic Greek politician, is appealing his recent two-year sentence for vote-buying.

The controversy surrounding the municipality began last year when Goro was named in a criminal complaint filed by Beleri. The complaint alleged corruption involving state assets and accused Goro of facilitating the transfer of significant areas of state land to private individuals through forged documents. These assets are currently believed to be in the possession of a company owned by Artan Gaci, the husband of Socialist Party MP and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Olta Xhacka.

The situation in Himara has not been without diplomatic repercussions, as Beleri's win in the mayoral election was nullified, and Goro was appointed acting mayor instead. This decision led to a dispute with Greece and strained relations between the two countries.

As Himara moves forward with Bala as the caretaker mayor, the municipality hopes for stability and transparency in local governance. The court decisions regarding Beleri's case, along with the ongoing investigations into alleged corruption, will undoubtedly shape the political landscape in Himara in the months to come.

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