Monday, May 3, 2010

Tirana Hunger Strike

Letter to the members of International Community and Media

Dear Friends,

We, 22 members of parliament and 200 citizens of Albania, concerned about the fate of democracy in our country have decided to engage in the ultimate form of democratic protest by going on a hunger strike in the name of the cornerstone of any democracy: free and fair elections.

Our demand is simple and democratic: a full and thorough parliamentary inquiry into the elections of June 28th 2009, including the opening of the ballot boxes and the examination of the electoral material contained therein. Our demand is not motivated by a yearning for power, but by the aspiration that the next elections are guaranteed against falling prey to the same machinations and manipulations.

For nine months we have tried in vain to realize our constitutional right to transparency only to be denied in all our efforts through the arrogance of a government that is no longer constrained by the Constitution in its actions. Nor has the government reacted to the massive show of support for our cause on the part of the citizens of Albania. 200,000 Albanians protested in Tirana in the name of the transparency of their votes and yet their government turned a deaf hear to this most democratic of demands.

Prime Minister Berisha speaks of a court decision that stands in the way of transparency but he has never, in ten months been able to show this decision to the public for the simple reason that it does not exist. We also regret the fact that this lie construed by Berisha as an alibi in order to avoid the transparency of the elections, has been instrumentalized by a significant portion of Albania's friends and partners.

Faced with the obstinate, illegal and arrogant denial of our constitutional right to transparency, aware of the crucial importance of our cause to the future of free and fair elections and democracy in Albania, we have decided to escalate our action by engaging in an open ended hunger strike accompanied by protests in every town and village of our country.

Tirana, May 04, 2010
The Hunger Strike Committee,,