President Meta proposes a "peace" plan

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 22, 2020 12:59

President Meta proposes a

TIRANA, May 22 - President of Albania Ilir Meta has proposed a 14-point "peace" plan regarding the judicial and electoral reforms in the country.

In his proposal, Meta highlights the establishment of a Political Council which is to appoint a Chief Negotiator for EU accession as well as decide unanimously for any constitutional or legal amendments.

Meta demands that the majority and the opposition (parliamentary and non-parliamentary) should "commit to finalizing the Electoral Reform" based on the OSCE / ODIHR recommendations as well as the 15 conditions set out by the European Concil on March 25.

Among the proposed points is the withdrawal the parliament to change the format of swearing in office of the members of the Constitutional Court after the case Arta Vorpsi, whose oath was refused by Meta.

Several other points were made regarding the Judicial Appointments Council as well, in which the President demands the end of Ardian Dvorani's mandate with the appointment of three judges of the High Court. Meanwhile, the JAC is to continuously "submit the lists of candidates to the constitutional sequence President - Parliament - the President. "Additionally, Meta proposes that the Ombusdman takes part in all of JAC's activities.

Finally, Meta proposes that the members of the Parliament withdraw the Anti-Defamation Package and any similar legal initiative in the future.

The proposal comes at a time of turmoil for the political climate in the country, following protests against the demolition of the National Theatre. The opposition has hinted that it may withdraw from election reform talks due to the current situation.

In this line, President Meta held a meeting with the opposition on Thursday, after which he stated that he "informed them of the efforts and proposal of an actual inclusive platform regarding the European integration." He urged "the 'United Opposition' to contribute to the Political Council to show the will to restore the legitimacy of all institutions through free and fair elections."

President Ilir Meta also called on the three new members of the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecution Office (SPAK) to remain "uninfluenced by any internal or foreign interference, as well as to always remain faithful only to the Constitution and the laws in its respect."

Meta's statement sparked reactions from U.S. Ambassador who warned against the obstruction of the justice reform in the country. EU Ambassador to Albania Luigi Soreca also wrote about the need to not open fundamental issues regarding the reform, but to enhance its efficiency and reinforce "the resources at its disposal."

Last year, the President raised concern over the ongoing judicial reform as regards the Constitutional Court.

Meta 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 on November of 2018 with appointments to the Constitutional Court.   

The clash between the parties began after Meta decided not to appoint candidate Arta Vorpsi, 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. 

Furthermore, in April this year, President Meta asked the HJC to end Dvoran's term of office, who, being the incumbent President of the Supreme Court, refused to announce the end of his term. The HJC, on the other hand, claimed that it has no power to do so, while at the same time confirming that none of the recently appointed Supreme Court judges have replaced Dvorani.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 22, 2020 12:59