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HomeWorldEuropeJailed Greek politician in Albania becomes candidate for EU parliament

Jailed Greek politician in Albania becomes candidate for EU parliament

Greece’s ruling New Democracy (ND) party announced on Monday that it has nominated Fredi Beleri, a jailed politician from the Greek minority in Albania, as its candidate for the European Parliament elections to be held from 6-9 June.

Beleri, a candidate for mayor of Himare, an Albanian coastal town populated mainly by ethnic Greeks, was arrested last May 12 by Albanian police when he allegedly offered about 40,000 Albanian leks (360 euros; $390) to buy eight electoral votes ahead of the May 14 local elections that resulted in his election.

In March this year, an Albanian court sentenced Beleri to two years in prison for election fraud. His arrest has strained relations between Tirana and Athens.

Some Albanian and Greek media and newspapers also claimed that Beleri was involved in a 1994 terrorist attack on an Albanian border post that killed two Albanian soldiers, as part of the far-right terrorist group MAVI.

Other candidates include New Democracy’s current MEPs, Greek journalists Giorgos Aftias and Eleonora Meleti, and former weightlifter Pyrros Dimas.

According to the latest census, Greeks are the largest minority in Albania, making up 0.9 per cent of the total population.

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