President and opposition parties call for early elections

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 22, 2019 10:00

President and opposition parties call for early elections

Story Highlights

  • Meta stated he will undertake any action to prevent what he considers a constitutional coup.

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TIRANA, Nov. 20 – Albanian President Ilir Meta spoke on Tuesday about a criminal effort from both Albanian and international representatives to capture the establishment of the Constitutional Court, during a meeting with opposition leaders on the topic of naming the new court members. 

He said he will undertake any action to prevent what he considers a constitutional coup. 

He stated at the opening of the meeting that he had called on opposition leaders to provide details “of the latest and best-structured, in my view, Albanian-international criminal attempt to capture the Constitutional Court and hand it over to Edi Rama so he can transform the most important state institution into a mocking institution.”

Meta, according to a press release, spoke of manipulation of the process of appointments to the Constitutional Court, aiming to “capture the Court through the abduction of the President’s constitutional right to make appointments.”

Meta did not respect the 30-day deadline set by the law to select candidates for the court. 

Not seeing this as a violation, he insisted that he avoided applying the constitution, which, according to him, establishes a row between institutions for appointments. 

However, according to the majority, the President’s disregard of the deadline caused candidate Arta Vorpsi, who was first on the list of nominees, to be automatically elected by Meta. 

Shortly after parliament chose the two names that were for Meta to decide upon, the president decreed candidate Marsida Xhaferllari, a move that was considered unconstitutional by parliament but accepted by the court itself.

The Court’s announcement came on the day that parliament, through a resolution, deemed Meta’s decree for Xhaferllari as invalid, and asked the Court to create the conditions for Vorpsi to take office.

In his address to parliament, Prime Minister Edi Rama said that before parliament elected its two members and welcomed the announcement of Vorpsi’s membership, “we are 100 percent agreed with the strategic allies and 100 percent referred to opinions data from their EURALIUS  and OPDAT experts, who are an integral part of the entire justice reform process.” 

Meta, however, has attacked the Judicial Appointments Council (KED) and its leader, Ardian Dvorani, for the procedures followed concerning the candidate lists, which he said were intended to make Vorpsi’s appointment a matter-of-fact. 

Even during Tuesday’s meeting, according to the announcement distributed by the Presidency, Meta stated that “I will not allow anyone to neutralize the powers of the President of the Republic, as the Constitution of the country recognizes, and that he will take any action to stop this constitutional coup.”

Following the meeting in the Presidency, Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha said they were made familiar with “shocking evidence of the country’s PM flagrant interference in the process of judicial reform and, more specifically, in the process of appointing judges to the Constitutional Court.” 

These shocking evidence and facts – he went on to say – prove that the sole purpose of this prime minister and this government is not the implementation of the justice reform, but the seizure of justice institutions and, in particular, the seizure of the Constitutional Court. 

But the topic of the Constitutional Court was not the only discussed during the meeting. 

Basha indicated that the country’s political crisis and the electoral reform process were also discussed. 

According to him, “there is and there can not be an alibi to delay early parliamentary elections and local constitutional elections on the same day as the only way out of the crisis.”

Meta, during the meeting, also “welcomed the steps taken by the opposition to adopt without delay the electoral reform, as well as the public stand of the united opposition to hold early elections, in order to restore the lack of legitimacy of the Albanian Parliament and to restore political dialogue in institutions,” the presidency announced.

As he had publicly announced, the head of state did not merely publicly accuse the head of the KED Dvorani, but also filed with the Prosecutor’s Office criminal charges against him, for “Abuse of Duty”, and “Acquisition of Title or of state duty.”

 

Head of Judicial Appointments Council sued for violations 

Meta announced in advance that he will report Dvorani to the Prosecutor’s Office on Monday for abuse of office and misappropriation of state title or office during the procedures for electing members of the Constitutional Court.

President Meta said that for almost two years he has been making efforts and calling on all institutions to respect the Constitution and the law, so that the election of members of the Constitutional Court was in accordance to both. 

“The President of the Republic, after ascertaining these actions and omissions of Mr. Dvorani, estimates that they constitute not only disciplinary violations, but also clear criminal offenses. Based on the relevant articles of the Criminal Procedure Code, the President of the Republic files this lawsuit with the prosecution with a view to initiating an investigation against Mr. Ardian Dvorani for the criminal offenses of abuse of office provided by the Criminal Code and embezzlement of state title or duty,” said Meta.

According to Meta, Dvorani, during the procedures for electing members of the Constitutional Court, deliberately sent the president the same day the candidate lists for two vacancies.

In his response, Dvorani states that “this criminal report, among other things, is based on claims about the existence of certain facts, behaviors and actions which are untrue but which the whistleblower thinks may have happened or would like to have happened for the motives he knows. On the other hand, for the time being, I submit publicly that even my own conduct and actions, even those untrue but desired as such by the whistleblower, are such in nature that they not only constitute a criminal offense but also any other violation of the law. ” 

According to a member of the Supreme Court, “even more serious is the fact that this criminal report itself, as well as all the President’s loud statements, is based on a completely wrong and not professional assessment and interpretation of the Constitution and the law.”

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 22, 2019 10:00