Prime Minister collides with President Meta on Greece sea border deal

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 8, 2018 10:50

Prime Minister collides with President Meta on Greece sea border deal

Story Highlights

  • At the moment, the country’s constitutional court is blocked because only three out of its nine members were re-confirmed to duty at the end of the vetting process. It is unclear when the vacant positions will be filled, as the Council of Appointments in Justice, which is responsible for selecting the candidates in advance, is also lacking members.

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TIRANA, Oct. 8 – Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama said on Thursday evening that when negotiations with Greece on a new maritime border between the countries lead to an agreement, it will pass to parliament without waiting for the Constitutional Court to become functional.

Rama’s comments during a Vizion Plus TV show followed President Ilir Meta’s statements a day earlier, who stressed that it is important for such an agreement to be ratified in parliament at a time when Albania has a functioning Constitutional Court.

“Otherwise, this would not serve both countries’ best interests,” Meta told the Voice of America, adding he has made the point clear to Rama as well.

Rama, however, called Meta’s words “an opinion” and said the parliament is sovereign at this point.

“If we reach a deal, of course it will go to parliament, while the Constitutional Court might not be able to judge today, but it is open. Whoever has any pretenses can register their pretense, can deposit the case and whenever it becomes functional, it can take over the case one more time,” Rama said.

However, cases of international agreements do not depend solely on the majority’s votes. The case constitutes “an international agreement in the name of the Republic of Albania” and, according to the special law approved in 2016, such agreements “can be signed by the Republic’s President or the Prime Minister, members of the Council of Ministers or any high functionary, in any case under the authorization of the President of the Republic,” showing clearly the president’s verdict is crucial.

Albania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Ditmir Bushati, for whom Meta said he’s had disagreements concerning the maritime border deal, also commented on Meta’s statements.

Bushati said the negotiations have not been finalized yet and that, until they do, the Albanian group will remain a team, including the president.

“Once the technical work being conducted by the experts is finalized, the dossier will be submitted to the president, where the experts will make their final evaluation on the consistency of what has been achieved with the mandate the president has released on the issue,” Bushati said.

Other political figures also spoke against Rama’s stand on this issue and his comment on TV.

Former Minister of Justice Ylli Manjani said Rama refuses to recognize and apply the country’s constitution.

Through a Facebook status, Manjani said one doesn’t need to be a judge, but simply have eyes on their forehead and a bit of attention to read article 131, point b of the constitution and understand “in what grave condition” the prime minister is.

“The article says, the Constitutional Court decides on: a)…, b) incompatibility of international agreements before their ratification, c)…. As it can easily be understood, the parliament cannot ratify the agreement with Greece unless the Constitutional Court gives its verdict IN ADVANCE. So, we cannot deposit complaints and judgment in the Constitutional Court post-fact, as the prime minister suggests,” Manjani wrote.

At the moment, the country’s constitutional court is blocked because only three out of its nine members were re-confirmed to duty at the end of the vetting process. It is unclear when the vacant positions will be filled, as the Council of Appointments in Justice, which is responsible for selecting the candidates in advance, is also lacking members.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 8, 2018 10:50