Berisha Rebuffs US Pressure to Prevent Him from Entering Parliament

“Sali Berisha will be in parliament in accordance with the decision of the Albanian people on Friday."

This was the reconfirmation made by the veteran leader of Democratic Party (DP) and former Prime Minister Sali Berisha on a local TV. They have been declared persona non grata by the US.

DP head Lulzim Basha has not confirmed if Berisha will enter parliament as an MP of the Democratic Party.

Berisha and his family were declared persona non grata and banned from entering the US due to “corrupt acts” that “undermined democracy in Albania.”

In his statement, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken listed a long rap sheet of crimes as justification for the decision against Berisha who was the pick up of US as first president after the fall of the communist regime in Albania in early 1990s.

“Berisha was involved in corrupt acts, such as misappropriation of public funds and interfering with public processes, including using his power for his own benefit and to enrich his political allies and his family members at the expense of the Albanian public’s confidence in their government institutions and public officials,” said the US decision.

Berisha has not been convicted of a crime in Albania, and is not believed to be under investigation at the moment.

US Ambassador to Albania Yuri Kim made several calls for him not to enter parliament. She even asked such a thing to Basha who didn't confirm it but it was Berisha who revealed that.

Berisha has.responded by pledging to take up the mandate, and by filing a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation against Blinken. He claimed that he filed the suit in Paris because the statements were made online and were therefore available in France. / Argumentum.al