Elvis Rroshi, who has been mayor of Kavaja since 2011, resigned on Tuesday, the first senior official to step down after the passing of a law that aims to get people with criminal records out of Albanian politics.
“Today I have to disclose to the public with deepest regret that I have received unexpected information that changes everyything. My lawyers have informed me that, unexpectedly and unknowingly, I have received a conviction [while I was] under age,” Rroshi said in a Facebook post.
The new law, approved last year in parliament, obliges about 1,836 politicians and about 5,000 senior officials in Albania to declare whether they were ever charged with or convicted of criminal activity and authorises the authorities to check their statements.
Following the BIRN investigation, Prime Minister Edi Rama claimed that the allegations were a smear campaign while Rroshi threatened to sue BIRN Albania for defamation, demanding 100,000 euros if BIRN didn’t retract its investigation.
Following the resignation of Rroshi on Tuesday, Rama, who chose him as a candidate for the Socialist Party in 2011 and 2015, mounted a passionate defence for his choice and praised Rroshi’s achievements as mayor.