After a difficult electoral battle, pre-arrested Fredis Beleri managed to defeat Giorgi Goro, and to be elected mayor of Himara, in the context of the local government elections that took place throughout Albania. In fact, before the announcement of the results, there was tension, when it became known that vote counting was stopped.
Also, when the predominance of the Greek expatriate was announced, his voters burst into celebrations. The newly elected mayor made his first statement from Tirana prisons.
Fredis Belleri's first statement
Through his personal Facebook account, Fredis Beleri reported on the result that: "Democracy won! Himara won! I am grateful to those who showed levity. I sympathize with those who succumbed to terrorism.
Today there are no winners and losers, all the citizens of Himara and I as Mayor, first among equals, walk united to become even stronger, defending Democracy and Human Rights!"
The celebration of the voters of Beleris is in full swing
Immediately after the announcement of the results, a party started on the beach of Himara. Hundreds of residents of the municipality are singing, dancing, hugging and celebrating his narrow victory over defeated Giorgi Goro who was supported by Albanian PM Edi Rama's party.
As time goes on the crowd grows and so does the mood and a feast is set up that will last until the evening.
Strong reactions to his arrest
Earlier there were reports in the electronic press of the neighboring country, according to which the two candidates were running neck-to-neck with 50% of votes counted, but the results from the remaining 50% of the ballots were expected to favor Beleri.
The arrest of Beleris caused intense reactions in Greece as well.
The Foreign Ministry of the Hellenic Republic spoke about a "complete reversal of the rules of equality in the municipal elections in Himara, the most important center of the Greek National Minority in Albania", in its announcement regarding the decision to pre-trial detention the candidate for Mayor.
"The decision to remand Omonia's candidate for the position of Mayor of Himara, Freddy Beleris, one day before the local elections without any solid evidence against him, is provocative and raises serious concerns and questions. Especially, after the systematic, public targeting of him by the Albanian government", emphasizes SYRIZA - Progressive Alliance in a statement.
"Fabricated political charges" says his lawyer
Freddy Beleris' lawyer has spoken of illegal imprisonment and "fabricated political charges".
"The buying of votes was not proven, that's what we requested from the court as it is not documented automatically. The information came from a person identified by the police. This is a political acusation and construct. During the prosecutor's speech, the existence of the lists (of the supposed voters to be bought off) was not proven. At that moment, Beleri was leaving the cafeteria and the manner of his abduction proved that the goal was to find something on him, at his own expense. It turned out that nothing was found. The electoral process is not affected, on the contrary it is strengthened," his lawyer Geni Gjyzari said, according to Albanian media.
In fact, they quote the statement of Fredis Beleri in the courtroom, who emphasized: "I have nothing to do with the accusation, I was with my relatives, I did not have the money to buy votes."