Albania’s parliament accuses president of violating the constitution News Europe

Ilir Meta, who held the largely ceremonial role, met regularly with the socialist government of Prime Minister Edi Rama.

On Wednesday, the Albanian parliament instructed President Ilir Meta to violate the constitution and removed him from office.

In an extraordinary session, parliament voted 104-7 to free the president. Three abstained. Final approval will be reached by the Albanian Constitutional Court in three months.

A report from a parliamentary inquiry concluded that Meta had violated the constitution with his partial approach against the Socialists in government during the April 25 parliamentary election campaign. The report said Meta violated 16 articles and even incited violence.

“Ilir Meta has betrayed the mission of the president of … Albania,” Prime Minister Edi Rama said in his speech before the vote. “Ilir Meta has humiliated the constitution.”

Meta has denounced the investigation and the attempted impeachment, arguing that they are illegal.

There was no reaction from Meta during the debate or after the vote. During the parliamentary debate Meta continued his daily agenda, awarding a medal to an ensemble of folk music.

At the end of April, 49 ruling socialist legislators had asked the committee of inquiry.

They accuse Meta, a former socialist prime minister who left the party several years ago, of inciting instability and violence in the Balkan nation and of being part of the political opposition ahead of the elections.

They say Meta should be blamed for its failure in its constitutional duty to guarantee national unity.

The ruling Socialist Party ended up winning a seat for 74 of the 140 seats in parliament in the April 25 election, winning its third four-year term.

“The acts, behavior and approach of the President of the Republic … go against his constitutional role and his position,” the report said.

He said Meta should be “removed from the post of President of the Republic for serious violations (of the constitution).”

The presidency of Albania is largely ceremonial, but carries some authority over the judiciary and the armed forces. The role is also generally understood to be apolitical, but Meta has met regularly with the socialist government of Prime Minister Edi Rama.

After taking office as president in 2017 with the support of the Socialists in government, Meta has opposed his agenda, blocking the candidacies of ministers and vetoing legislation.

Meta accused Rama of running a “kleptocratic regime” and of concentrating all legislative, administrative and judicial powers in his hands.

Meta argues that the outgoing assembly is in a post-election transition period and therefore is not eligible to conduct such investigative activities. The parliament elected in April is not formally seated until September.

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