Venice Commission: Albanian President Ilir Meta transcended his competencies

Venice Commission: Albanian President Ilir Meta transcended his competencies
 The Venice Commission published on Friday evening (27.09.2019) its opinion on the constitutional or non-constitutional character of President Meta's decrees on the cancellation of last June 30 elections, as of the Local 2019 date. are described as "an excess of constitutional powers, which is not an act to dismiss the President and the final decision will be taken by the Constitutional Court".

The Venice Commission states in the aforementioned draft report that "in the absence of a legal provision, the President may annul elections for local government bodies only in a situation that meets the criteria for extraordinary measures, having also a specific legal basis for postponing the local elections.”

Was Albania in a situation for extraordinary measures?

President Meta canceled June 30 as the date of the 2019 Local on June 8, the day of the eighth national opposition anti-government protest. The opposition had boycotted Parliament, quit parliamentary seats and had been protesting for four months to oust Prime Minister Rama and oust his government, accused of stealing votes and links to organized crime. She had said she would not run in the June 30th local elections, and would even impede their development by civil disobedience.

Venice Commission: Albanian President Ilir Meta transcended his competencies
Albanian President Ilir Meta
In the opinion of the experts of the Venice Commission, "the proclamation of a state of emergency shall be made on the basis of rules laid down in the Constitution and by political consensus, which would enable the creation of an ad hoc legal basis," rules which were not followed in the case of cancellation dated of June 30 by President Meta.

The authority of the President does not rest above the politics

The constitution grants the president the right to set an election date. For President Meta this right also includes that of its cancellation. The Venice Commission sees it differently. According to him, "the right to determine the date of elections is a consequence of the neutral position that the Albanian Constitution attributes to the President of the Republic, which represents the unity of the people... "

President Meta has argued the cancellation of June 30 as election date as an act to secure the right of the opposition electorate to participate in the elections and at the same time to have pluralistic elections, in the absence of the main opposition forces, Experts from the Venice Commission said that "an election boycott by political parties, even if they represent a significant part of the electorate, cannot prevent regular elections. The boycott itself does not lead to a constitutional crisis or instability of public order. The absence of the two main opposition parties, the Democratic Party (DP) and the Socialist Movement for Integration (SMI), could affect the right to vote. It was not the Albanian state that prevented these parties from contesting the elections, but the parties themselves decided to boycott the elections”, has been stated in the draft report of the Venice Commission.

The dismissal is not eligible

The Venice Commission clearly states that "the President exceeded his powers under the Constitution, first by announcing local elections and then by postponing them without any special legal basis." Constitutional, to determine if they would constitute "serious violations" that would allow dismissal of the President."

According to them, "a number of factors indicate that no serious breach is established." Factors cited by experts are: Meta's calls for dialogue, the expectation that postponing the election would contribute to compromising the parties, the lack of a law regulating precisely the powers of the President, the constitutionally deficient status of local elections compared to parliamentary ones. In conclusion, the Venice Commission's opinion states that "the President's actions may not have been of a sufficiently serious nature to justify his dismissal." But they point out that it will be the Parliament's decision and its consideration in the Constitutional Court that will determine whether or not President Meta will be dismissed.

Reaction from the Presidency: Zero constitutional violation

President Meta's spokesman, Tedi Blushi, rejects the Venice Commission's opinion on the newly published draft. In a reaction on social media, he considers as a "commissioned pamphlet" the draft report of the Venice Commission. "Zero violation of the constitution! Forget the ordered tracts wherever they come! President of the Republic has defended the Constitution, democratic order and political pluralism: He has avoided bloodshed and the Reichstag,” writes the spokesman Tedi Blushi. He calls on the political forces "to listen to the Bundestag, to sit down urgently and resolve the severe political crisis before  further conditions are added to Albania."

The Venice Commission was invited by the Albanian Parliament to give its opinion after the Investigative Commission completed its mission, initiated by the Socialist majority to investigate the constitutional or not character of the two Meta decrees regarding the 2019 Local Elections date. Parliament's decision is now pending and its review in the Constitutional Court is expected soon. Its functioning is one of nine conditions the German Bundestag has set for Albania on its "YES" regarding the opening of EU accession negotiations.
Venice Commission: Albanian President Ilir Meta transcended his competencies Venice Commission: Albanian President Ilir Meta transcended his competencies Saturday, September 28, 2019 Rating: 5
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