President Meta appoints October 13 as the new date of local elections; divisions among parties and internationals

Ilir Meta
 The President of the Republic of Albania Ilir Meta has decreed today the new date for the local elections - October 13, 2019. He said that this 3-month postponement would be a reflection opportunity for all parties. But Prime Minister Edi Rama said immediately his act was invalid. 

Even today, Albanian politics ran through the labyrinth of pros and cons arguments for local elections.

The President took this decision after a series of meetings with political parties, until this morning with Democratic Party chairman Lulzim Basha, while the Socialist Party leader and Prime Minister Edi Rama did not go to the President's invited meeting.

"The new date is an opportunity to hold democratic elections at one time with the expected EU decisions to start negotiations with Albania for full membership," said Mr. Meta. He asked the prime minister and opposition to reflect on these conditions when the elections on June 30 were legally canceled, and the October 13th elections should be made regular because, as he said, "next year Albania takes over the OSCE's rotating presidency, and should be an example for other countries."

While President Meta was still responding to journalists at the press conference, Prime Minister Edi Rama reacted immediately to the new decree date for the October 13th local elections.

He wrote in social networks that June 30 is the only date for local elections and with some Latin-language expressions added that the act of the president to declare the new election date was invalid.

The Socialist Party is continuing the election campaign, despite their rejection by the President of the Republic for which he has launched a dismissal procedure in parliament, while the CEC is continuing to prepare these polls and is distributing ballot papers lacking the names of opposition candidates.

The opposition on the other side is opposing with a series of protests in these elections, while the municipalities of Albania run by its electors have refused to organize local elections after their cancellation by the president.

With its protests, the opposition is seeking early parliamentary elections and the resignation of the government after the release of some wiretapping, where senior socialist representatives in Durrës, Dibra and Tirana are being heard discussing pressure on voters for dismissals, payouts and rewards and favors, if they vote for the socialist candidates.

The Opposition protests have often been acts of violence, culminating in Molotov and explosives, while police dispersed the protesters with water and tear gas.

These events and the determination of both sides pros and cos the election after 3 days have raised the concern for acts of violence this Sunday.

While The Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe has come up with a resolution relating to the political crisis in Albania:

RESOLUTION "On political crisis in Albania, peace, stability, political dialogue and free and fair elections" 

The Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe

Supported the request of the Albanian opposition in May 2017 for free and fair elections. There are already dear facts and evidence in the investigative file publicly disclosed by international media that Rama Government has manipulated elections. In ACRE Declaration of 24 February 2019, again it supported the request of Albanian opposition for free and fair elections, fight against corruption and organized crime related to the government, through a transitory government. Respecting the democratic principle that governance is based on a system of pluralist, free and fair elections; Assessing and encouraging the exercise of constitutional law; Taking into account that Albania is undergoing a serious constitutional crisis identified by the fact that for more than one year, there is no functional Constitutional Court and recently the Supreme Court has been outside its function; Deeming that the current Government and the Justice Institutions in Albania have not launched any concrete efforts to deal with the continuous crime of vote buying, a publicly and internationally known fact, engagement in the elections, of individuals with a criminal past, spreading Albanian crime in the region and beyond; Deeming that massive emigration has taken on the dimensions of an "exodus" of Albanians from their country, constituting a phenomenon with serious political, economic and social consequences; Determining that political situation in Albania continues to represent a risk for further advancement of crisis within the country, which may cause serious consequences to public security, democratic stability, order and peace within the country and in region. Considering that holding elections for the local government of 30 June 2019, in absence of a competitive opposition alternative and in the face of continuous civic response through protests, would bring serious consequences to the country and people's unity and political pluralism. ACRE declares that it is necessary to resolve this political crisis, preparing the ground for restoring democratic standards and free and fair elections. Therefore, it once again appeals for dialogue between the parties, respect of the Presidential Decree for the postponement of elections, setting a date of elections and guaranteeing conditions for free and fair elections with a transitory Government. 

(Adopted by ACRE Council in the meeting of 27 June 2019)

On the other hand, the US Deputy Secretary of State for Europe Matthew Palmer said in an interview to Voice of America that the United States recognize the June 30 as the day of the Albanian elections.

Palmer commented in response to VOA's question about President Meta's decision to appoint October 13 as a new election date.

"We expect the elections to take place on June 30. We expect to be held in a calm and transparent manner." After the elections, the Constitutional Court will be formed and we expect the disputes over the elections to be resolved through the institutions of the country." Mr. Palmer said.

In the same direction with Palmer are also OSCE, Britain, and Italy.

President Meta appoints October 13 as the new date of local elections; divisions among parties and internationals President Meta appoints October 13 as the new date of local elections; divisions among parties and internationals Thursday, June 27, 2019 Rating: 5
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