Democratic lawmakers lit flares and stacked chairs in the middle of the hall as Prime Minister Edi Rama took his seat to vote on next year’s budget. Security guards did not allow opposition lawmakers to approach the cabinet seats.
The left-wing socialists, who have 73 seats in the 140-member parliament, closed the parliamentary session after five minutes. Debate on each budget item is expected later this week.
One of the flares started a small fire, which was extinguished by opposition lawmakers.
The opposition wants parliamentary commissions of inquiry to investigate alleged cases of corruption involving Rama and other high-ranking government officials.
Socialists claim that the opposition’s demands do not meet constitutional requirements.
Gazmend Bardi, one of the opposition lawmakers, said they would not allow parliament to do its daily work.
“Our fight is to show every citizen that this is not the parliament that represents them,” he said.
However, the leader of the socialist parliamentary faction urged Albanians to take into account that the parliament approves the largest budget so far and twice the size of the one in 2013, when the socialists came to power.
The unrest began last month, two days before prosecutors charged former prime minister and Democratic Party president Sali Berisha with corruption in a land-buying scheme now under investigation in the capital, Tirana.
Prosecutors claim that 79-year-old Berisha gave financial benefits to his son-in-law, who was detained. Berisha has pleaded not guilty to the two and claims the case is politically motivated and that his opponent Rama is behind it.