Albanian lawmakers investigate president for impeachment
Albanian lawmakers agreed on Friday to form a commission of inquiry to decide whether or not to remove the country’s president, whom the ruling Socialist Party accuses of violating the constitution by taking political sides in an election last month.
The 140-seat parliament voted 97-6 in favor of appointing a nine-member committee to investigate President Ilir Meta “for gross and flagrant violation of the constitution.”
Socialist parliamentary group leader Taulant Balla said Meta had failed in its constitutional duty to ensure national unity by siding with the opposition ahead of the April 25 elections. The Socialists won 74 seats in Parliament, enough to form a cabinet without entering into a coalition with other parties.
During the election campaign, Meta accused Prime Minister Edi Rama of leading a “kleptocratic regime” and of concentrating all legislative, administrative and judicial powers in his hands. The president also accused Rama’s government of spoiling Albania’s response to the pandemic.
Socialist lawmakers have cited three constitutional articles that the committee will be tasked with studying. One requires the president to be impartial, a second prohibits the president from holding any other office, and the third declares that the president can be dismissed for a serious constitutional violation.
“Our goal will be to restore confidence in the number one person in the state,” Balla said.
In response, Meta said he would not recognize the validity of the parliamentary committee.
“The institution of the president of the republic will not recognize any unconstitutional or illegal decision or activity of the one-party interim assembly and the decisions of any other doll institution of this kleptocratic regime,” said the president’s spokesperson. , Tedi. Blushi, said.
The Albanian presidency is largely ceremonial but exercises some authority over the judiciary and the armed forces. The role is also generally seen as apolitical, but Meta has regularly clashed with Rama’s government.
Left-wing socialists moved quickly to establish the committee. The current session of parliament ends in July, although the national legislature remains technically functional until September 9, when the new parliament elected in April i is due to meet.
Meta’s impeachment requires a two-thirds majority in parliament and the approval of the Albanian Constitutional Court, which would decide whether a vote from lawmakers should be upheld if the president is to step down.
Meta began his political career with the Socialist Party, but then left it to form the smaller Left Socialist Movement for Integration, or LSI. In 2017, when he was elected to a 5-year term as president, his wife became the leader of LSI.
Meta said he plans to join the LSI after his presidential term ends in July 2022.
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