Ruling majority fails to get enough votes to pass School of Magistrates new law

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 13, 2018 10:17

Ruling majority fails to get enough votes to pass School of Magistrates new law

Story Highlights

  • Approval of the changes that could potentially unblock the situation created by the lack of new institutions foreseen under the justice reform require 84 votes, which the Socialist majority alone does not have. Negotiations with the opposition expected.

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TIRANA, July 10 – Albania’s parliament failed to approve some changes to the law on the status of judges and prosecutors which aim to enable new admissions to the School of Magistrates and appointment of newly graduated lawyers and prosecutors, due to the opposition’s absence in the session.

Approval of the changes that could potentially unblock the situation created by the lack of new institutions foreseen under the justice reform require 84 votes, which the Socialist majority alone does not have.

“On behalf of the Socialist Party parliamentary group, I call for the postponement of this discussion and voting for this bill in the next session of July 19,” head of the SP parliamentary group Taulant Balla said during Monday’s session.

The Socialists only meet 78 out of the 84 votes necessary to pass the bill, including the votes provided by their own MPs and those who have recently left other parties to join the ruling majority, while the opposition’s Democratic Party and Socialist Movement for Integration MPs were absent from the session.

Cause of their absence was last Thursday’s vote on the bill that foresees the construction of a new National Theatre building, where among the list of MPs that voted in favor was SMI MP Vangel Tavo, who was not present at the session at all.

Both the PD and SMI were represented only by the heads of their parliamentary groups who, similar to last Friday’s request directed to the parliament, asked for the vote on the bill to be annulled, calling it irregular and manipulated.

Parliament speaker Gramoz Ruci said he’d just received the request and had immediately ordered its verification, where, according to the Socialists, it was found two SMI MPs had placed an independent MP’s card in the place where Tavo usually sits.

According to Balla, the NT bill would pass either with 74 or 75 votes and the opposition used this case as a way to prevent the changes foreseen in the law for the status of judges and prosecutors.

The amendments aim that in the absence of a High Judicial Council and a High Prosecutorial Council, it will be the School for Magistrates which will carry out new admissions and the present High Council of Justice and General Prosecution to appoint new judges and prosecutors.

In this context, Balla called on the SMI to join the government in this initiative.

He said that “we have established an official communication with the SMI on this issue. But i want to highlight how important it is to maintain a consistency in our stands on this particular issue. Both the SP and SMI must remain consistent to what they agreed on two years ago, which is the agreement to continue with the admission process.”

A number of SMI MPs, however, have said the proposed solution is unacceptable.

“The old law, which we rightfully supported and reformed, foresaw that appointments or discharges would be done by the General Prosecutor through the President. Today, there is one more reason not to vote it, because this temporary General Prosecutor will appoint these new magistrate students and ask for their vote tomorrow at the general meeting of prosecutors related to the selection of High Council of Justice members,” SMI MP Nasip Naco said.

Meanwhile, the problem with Magistrate School students is not the only one produced by the delays in implementing the justice reform, as the Constitutional Court is also currently out of order.

The High Court is heading the same direction, currently operating with a limited number of members, while the lack of a High Prosecutorial Council is also keeping the National Investigation Bureau and the special anti-corruption unit.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 13, 2018 10:17