Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama’s reference on Thursday to Fredi Beleri as the elected mayor of Himare, for the first time, apparently offers a glimmer of hope in resolving the ongoing legal obstacle faced by the ethnic Greek politician in Albania.

“Acceptance by the Albanian Prime Minister of the election results and acknowledgment of the political will of the people of Himare is an important step. Referring to Fredi Beleri as the elected mayor of Himare was a clear statement,” Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis said on Friday morning during an interview with Greek state broadcaster ERT.

Emphasizing the importance of rule of law and political rights, Gerapetritis reiterated Greece’s stance on the necessity of allowing Beleri to be sworn-in as the mayor of the coastal town, which hosts a historic and significant ethnic Greek minority. He conveyed this message not only to Tirana but also to the international community.

Rama, in response to a decision by a special Albanian anti-corruption first instance court to reject Beleri’s request for bail, he underscored what he called its legality. Rama said Beleri remains the elected mayor until the trial’s conclusion, subject to the official decision based on guilt or innocence.
Furthermore, Rama addressed the court’s reference to the political impasse caused by the continued tenure of the previous mayor in Himare’s town hall, despite the latter being defeated by Beleri by a few ballots — whereas the latter remains in remand. Rama merely cited a need to resolve this deadlock by following European best practices to ensure public services in the southern Albania coastal municipality.
Rama highlighted the court’s decision as a legal affirmation of the “Beleri case” as a matter for the justice system, independent of political influence. He expressed optimism that a verdict’s rationale will lay a positive groundwork for resolving the current deadlock.