Locked up and elected: Greece's vote-buying mayor heads to European Parliament

10 Qershor 2024, 07:42Politics TEMA

Locked up and elected: Greece's vote-buying mayor heads to European

June 10, 2024 —  Fredi Beleri, the Albanian Greek mayor-elect who is currently serving a prison sentence for vote-buying, has secured a seat in the European Parliament. Despite his imprisonment, Beleri was nominated by Greece's ruling New Democracy party and won the election in June 2024.

Beleri's victory has sparked controversy, particularly given his current status as an inmate in an Albanian prison. He was arrested and sentenced to two years and six months in prison for his involvement in vote-buying during local elections in Himara, Albania. The charges against Fredi Beleri have been seen by many as a political move by the Albanian government. Beleri was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison for vote-buying, with many believing he was targeted due to his Greek ethnicity and opposition to the government. The tensions between Albania and Greece have been escalating, with Beleri's case being a major point of contention.

Albania has denied that Beleri's arrest and imprisonment were politically motivated, with Prime Minister Edi Rama stating that the government has not interfered in the case and that the justice system is acting independently. Rama pointed out that other mayors from his own party have also been jailed for crimes committed during their tenure, demonstrating the impartiality of the justice system.

The Albanian government maintains that Beleri was caught red-handed attempting to buy votes and that the evidence against him is not public yet as the investigation is still ongoing. They argue that Beleri's case is being treated no differently than other vote-buying cases, with the only difference being that he was caught in the act, while the others are still under investigation.

Albania also rejects the notion that Beleri should be allowed to take the oath of office as mayor from prison, stating that no such provision exists in Albanian law. The government insists that the justice system is following due process and that Beleri's rights are being respected, despite Greece's accusations of wrongful arrest, detention, and denial of rights.

Beleri's election to the European Parliament has further complicated the situation, with many questioning how he can effectively represent his constituents while serving a prison sentence.

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