Albanian parliament begins proceedings to dismiss President

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 14, 2019 10:15

Albanian parliament begins proceedings to dismiss President

TIRANA, June 13 - Albania's parliament debated a no-confidence motion during Thursday's session against President Ilir Meta after he canceled upcoming municipal elections, while a vote is expected later in the day.

On Saturday, Albanian President Ilir Meta said he had decided to annul the presidential decree that had set June 30 as the local elections date, taking into consideration the chaotic deadend Albania is facing, with an opposition set on boycotting the local elections and the majority saying the elections will take place no matter what. Following Meta's statement, opposition leader Lulzim Basha said during the eight national anti-govt rally that same evening the president's decision was the opposition's first victory in a battle that is yet to end against Prime Minister Edi Rama's "narco-state." Meanwhile, Rama, campaigning from the country's south, not only declared the elections will take place, but also stated that Meta has lost his right to be the country's president and that the majority would soon take concrete steps to remove him from office, despite the county lacking a functioning Constitutional Court. Despite the majority's warnings, Meta began on Wednesday procedures to set a new date for the administrative elections.


Albanian President cancels administrative elections

Albanian President Ilir Meta announced on Saturday his decision to postpone the June 30 local elections, shortly before the launch of the opposition's eighth protest seeking the resignation of Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama and the establishment of a caretaker government which can facilitate early elections.

Meta only announced the cancelation of the decree by which he had announced June 30 as a local elections date, explaining that "on Monday, June 10, the Institution of the President of the Republic will publicly make known all exhaustive constitutional, legal and logical arguments that led to this decision."

In a statement distributed by his office, Meta explains the reasons for his decision, according to which it came as a result of "deep concern about the critical situation created in the country as a result of each side not reflecting."

Speaking from an electoral meeting in Berat, Rama described Meta's decision as wrong and said that the elections will be held on June 30.

Rama stated that "I also expected this and it is nothing else but the completion of a circle of a plan made a long time ago for one reason, for the reason that what is sought is not election postponement, but this government's seizure and the burial of the justice reform."

Meanwhile, from the protest organized in front of the government's headquarters, Democratic leader Lulzim Basha stated that the decision to cancel the June 30 elections is, according to him, "the first proof of our united force, but only a small step forward. We will continue this battle to victory."


President provides reasons to cancel local elections, as majority starts proceedings to fire him

Albanian President Ilir Meta gave a long explanation of the constitutional and legal reasons that led him to the decision to cancel June 30 as the local elections date, a move which he warned on Saturday evening and signed on Monday in public during the broadcast of a long statement.

From the outset,  Meta stated that "according to the Constitution, without a date set by the President of the Republic, general elections or elections for local government bodies can not be held."

Speaking of the situation created after the opposition's decision to leave the parliament and later to not participate in the local elections, as well as the lack of the Constitutional Court, Meta said it is all very disturbing and seriously jeopardizes the democratic stability of Albania.

"In assessing the current situation of the country and the hate language used by the political parties, I can assess as the President of the Republic, there is a risk that Albania will go towards the unpredictable escalation of social tension that can cause uncontrollable consequences. As the Head of State and representative of the unity of the people, I consider this moment as a serious threat to public security, democratic stability, calm and peace in the country," Meta said.

Continuing on the constitutional arguments, Meta stated that "the organization of free and democratic elections is the cornerstone of a democratic society. In this regard, the realization of elections for local government bodies without the participation of the opposition is problematic in the democratic aspect, because it prevents Albanian citizens from choosing among their competing alternatives their representatives at the local level."

According to him, "this situation becomes even more absurd, referring to the fact that in these elections in more than half of the local government units only one candidate competes  to be elected as mayor, while for the other part the competition includes proposed candidates by a political force and registered with the CEC beyond legal deadlines.

On the other hand, listing his arguments, the Head of State observes that "the conduct of elections in the context of a tense political situation can result not only in the non-participation in elections of about half the voters, but creates the risk of a conflictual civil society, which poses a serious threat to the life and health of citizens, the democratic stability of the country, the unity of the people and the constitutional order."

Meta also focused on the political conflict created in the country, the protests and clashes that occurred between demonstrators and police, as well as the opposition's threats that it will not allow the local elections to take place altogether.

"If election day becomes a battle of power between the majority and opposition supporters, or in a battle between citizens and law enforcement bodies, the elections would lose their value in a democratic society, and they would go from being an essential means of guaranteeing a democratic society to a danger towards the democratic coexistence and unity of the people," Meta added.

Regarding the fact that the postponement of the election date risks leaving local government without leaders, as current mandates expire, Meta explains that "the cancellation of the election date and its postponement beyond the electoral period set by the Electoral Code, in the conditions when it comes to defending constitutional values "‹"‹and principles, the basis for the democratic functioning of the state and institutions, is not a constraint on the constitutional viewpoint."

Meanwhile, the SP announced today it has decided to initiate the procedures for Meta's dismissal. It is the first time that in Albania, the parliament will take such an extreme step, following Meta's decision to cancel the date of local elections scheduled for June 30.

At the conclusion of the party's presidency meeting, the Minister for Relations with Parliament Elisa Spiropali stated that with his decision, the President has "committed a brutal act against the republic."

Spiropali explained that the procedures for Meta's dismissal "will begin immediately in Thursday's parliamentary session. It is our political duty to protect the Constitution, the constitutional order and the Republic."

Procedures for the dismissal of the President start at the request of one-fourth of the MPs, or 36 of them, while the decision should be taken with at least two-thirds or 93 votes, which the majority does not have. However, even if the parliament vote is achieved, the last word belongs to the Constitutional Court, which is currently out of function, with only one out of its nine members.

"In spite of this, it does not deprive us of the right to start the proceedings," Spiropali said.


Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 14, 2019 10:15