Prime Minister Edi Rama has proposed Gramoz Ruçi as the new Speaker of the House, taking over the position previously held by current President Ilir Meta.
The Speaker of the House is the second in line after the President as head of state.
During the previous four years, Ruçi was the leader of the parliamentary group of the Socialist Party, and as such showed at times very little respect for the Constitution.
This is the most powerful position Ruçi has held so far. More than twenty-five years ago, he was the last Minister of Interior Affairs under the communist regime, allegedly overseeing the widespread destruction of secret state archives. He was also First Secretary of the Party of Labor in Tepelena. He has never apologized for his involvement in the murderous regime.
According to a leaked cable from the US Embassy from 2009, published by Wikileaks,
Ruçi has long-standing ties to narcotics traffickers and organized crime. Ruçi has also been banned from entering the U.S. since 2005 due to a permanent visa ineligibility.
In other words, Ruçi may not even be able to exert his function as representative of Albania, as he is banned from entering the US. Former Speaker Meta made several trips to the US.
His nomination as Speaker of Parliament, together with the disappearance of the Ministry of Integration and the Ministry of Social Welfare, which received large amounts of EU funding, are two clear signs given by the new Rama administration to the European Union. Less focus on the path to EU accession, and a greater emphasis on establishing a state centered on an authoritarian leader.