Albania’s president warns to dissolve parliament

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 3, 2020 10:39

Albania’s president warns to dissolve parliament

TIRANA, March. 2 - Albania's president Ilir Meta said on Monday he will dissolve the country's national assembly unless the majority withdraws from the initiative for the changes in the swearing-in procedures of members of the Constitutional Court.

Meta made these statements during a manifestation called by him in Tirana's main boulevard, in front of his office.

The legal changes approved by the parliament three weeks ago “if a member of the Constitutional Court is not summoned to take an oath within 10 days of the election, he or she shall take the oath in writing and forward it to the President of the Republic, the designated body and the Constitutional Court.” This act of the majority is regarded by the president as a "coup d'etat". President Meta signed on spot the decree returning the changes to the parliament, and vowed in front of the flag: "if the coup d'etat and the mafia organization playing with sovereignty does not take this decree seriously, I promise, on the name of this flag, that after March 15, when the election reform is over, if they do not take it seriously, me, Ilir Meta swear that I will sign that decree in the midst of the parliament, in the midst of crime, and will call all the Albanian people. Me first and all the red and black citizens,” Meta said.

Despite the warning, the Albanian constitution recognizes the president's right to dissolve the parliament only on two occasions: (Article 96) "When the Assembly fails to elect a new Prime Minister, the President of the Republic dissolves the Assembly "and (Article 104) "The Prime Minister is entitled to submit to the Assembly a vote of no confidence of the Council of Ministers. If less than half of all members of the Assembly vote on the motion, the Prime Minister shall, within 48 hours of the vote, request the President of the Republic to dissolve the Assembly. The President shall dissolve the Assembly within 10 days after receiving the request”.

President Meta's speech following the interventions of some of the non-political figures during the manifestation, such as lawyers, diplomats, students and even artists, was loaded with harsh tones and strong accusations against the ruling Socialist Party of PM Edi Rama.

"We are here because Albania is divided into the red and black people and the group that represents a small, dark and traitorous world, participating in the coup and oligarchs who on a daily basis suck the blood of the people. We are here because none of us can tolerate a coup. We are today to face off the coup d'etat," Meta added.

During the event, Albanian president hold the American flag for a few minutes.

“For me, Albania is and will be first. But America is second, and I am ready, for the sake of what America has done for us, for the Albanians everywhere, to do everything for America, that does not harm Albania and the Albanians," Meta said, adding: "I took this flag, as tens and hundreds of Albanians came from America. They have left their jobs. I raised this flag in honor of all the great friends in America. For Congressman (Eliot) Engel and all extraordinary friends who have helped the Albanian cause and will always be ready to defend our interests."

But the U.S. ambassador to Tirana, Yuri Kim took to Twitter to clarify shortly after the event ended: "I was surprised to see the US flag at tonight’s “manifestation.” To avoid any confusion, we wish to clarify that while the US supports the right of peaceful protest, we have nothing to do with tonight’s “manifestation,” she wrote.

Downplaying Meta's declarations, Prime Minister Edi Rama said that "the president of the Republic cannot sign such decrees, while Ilir (Meta) who has nothing more for the president anymore and who has launched a campaign within the opposition can sign a decree for declaring war against the U.S., but which the parliament will not recognize. The greatest news is that Albania just got another extraordinary support from Brussels," Rama said referring to the recommendation of the European Commission for opening the accession talks with Albania.

In the past weeks, President Ilir Meta has toughened the political debate concerning the parliament’s votes and appointments.

“The Republic of Albania is experiencing the worst situation of state capture on the continent, but I will not accept the installation of a coup by turning the most important institution of justice, the Constitutional Court, into an unconstitutional PPP (private public partnership) state police,” Meta reiterates.

The U.S. Ambassador to Albania Yuri Kim has emphasized how important it is for her country that the Albania respects democratic processes and the international community’s solidarity and desire to help the Albanian people.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 3, 2020 10:39