President addresses Venice Commission on Constitutional Court clash with gov't

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 24, 2020 14:40

President addresses Venice Commission on Constitutional Court clash with gov't

Story Highlights

  • The clash between the parties began after Meta decided not to appoint one of the candidates for the vacancy to be filled by the Head of State, arguing that he had already filled a vacancy and it was up to Parliament to proceed with electing a candidate from the lists.

Related Articles

TIRANA, Jan. 24 - President Ilir Meta has addressed the Venice Commission with a lengthy request, in response to a move made by the majority to seek from this body of international experts an interpretation of the situation created last November with appointments to the Constitutional Court.   

The request begins with a letter to Commission President Gianni Buquicchio, with mostly political evaluations. 

"In the absence of a Constitutional Court for more than two years , in the absence of the High Court, in a crisis of representation sui generis where the Government, Parliament, all municipalities and municipal councils are in the hands of a single political force as well as the vast majority of the two independent bodies appointed by this political force, bringing about a complete imbalance of checks and balances, the country is at risk of total state capture. This context, coupled with the unilateral, unconstitutional implementation and in flagrant violation of the Venice Commission's recommendations on justice reform, is increasingly plunging the country into illegality, unconstitutionality, and towards autocracy," the letter reads. 

He goes on to write that "it is unfortunate that the main institution for the mal-implementation of justice reform is the Assembly, which is already made up from one party. This unilateral and uncooperative approach of the Assembly was followed by the initiation of the reestablishment process of the Constitutional Court, attempting to abdicate the constitutional powers of the President of the Republic and consequently to seize the highest institution of justice."

The clash between the parties began after Meta decided not to appoint one of the candidates for the vacancy to be filled by the Head of State, arguing that he had already filled a vacancy and it was up to Parliament to proceed with electing a candidate from the lists. 

According to the majority, Meta failed to abide by the 30-day deadline set by the law, and as a result, the top-ranked candidate Arta Vorpsi was automatically named. 

The parliament followed with the election of two candidates, while Meta subsequently decreed from his list Marsida Xhaferllari who was invited to take the oath, along with the two candidates elected by parliament.

Meta spoke about an attempt by the majority to take over his powers and launched a fierce battle against the Chairman of the Justice Appointments Council, Ardian Dvorani, whom he described as the cause of the created situation and a man who had worked on behalf of the ruling majority.

All of this, as well as the further decision of the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee, set up to dismiss Meta as president, to expand the scope of his work, not only on the occasion of the decree canceling the June 30 elections, but also on the appointments to the Constitutional Court constitute the first part of the more than 40-page petition Meta filed with the Venice Commission.

Meta has addressed the commission with a variety of questions on many aspects, since the Expansion of the Inquiry Committee by Parliament; Procedures for the appointment of members of the Constitutional Court by parliament; The role of the president in the case of appointments; The role of parliament and its actions in nominating candidates and more recently the activity of the Justice Appointments Council. There are at least 38 questions in total for which Meta has requested an explanation from the Venice Commission, whose experts are expected to arrive in Tirana in the middle of next month, precisely for this debate between the parties.

When last November, representatives of the international community, and especially the United States, suggested the involvement of the Venice Commission in resolving this new clash, Meta said they were looking to protect Dvorani.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 24, 2020 14:40