The Albanians at March 2 protest to defend democracy from one-party regime, Ilir Meta says to Euronews

 In an interview with the Euronews Group's central studios in France, the Albanian President Ilir Meta once again insisted that a one-party regime with a criminal structure would be put in place in Albania, which would take control of all powers, including the constitutional and judicial courts and the president's right to elect some of the constitutional judges, and he has called on the people to take to the streets and defend the country's democratic institutions.

Asked by the Good Morning Europe moderator if there is a political clash between the president and the prime minister, who has sought to dismiss him because he has gone beyond his role of unifying the people, Meta said that is not the case and that the only reason they are making these calls is to prevent Albania from returning to the one-party regime same as 30 years ago.

Regarding the impact this clash will have on the EU's decision on negotiations, Meta said that what will make the negotiations remain a dream for Albanians is precisely the behavior of this government and its efforts to seize all institutions by manipulating public opinion, citizens must take the situation under control on March 2.

Full interview:

Euronews: Thank you for joining us at Goodmorning Europe. I can call you the president of the country, a role that aims to maintain stability and seek national unity. How do you justify the call to topple the government? "

Meta: Thank you for your attention to my country. And for the latest developments that are essential to Albania's European future. I must say that we are living in a one-party regime today. We risk returning 30 years ago, when we were Europe's North Korea.

I'm explaining it to you now. This is the constitutional map of Albania, representing all the institutions in our Constitution that must guarantee the independence and equality of powers. This is the executive power. There's a party, the one in power. A party derived by the illegal and unconstitutional elections held across the country.

I must say that this party, in collaboration with organized crime, with files that continue to sleep in the Prosecutor's Office for three years, has manipulated the will of the people by deceiving the elections. The whole of Europe has been searching for investigations to happen, but nothing has happened.

Here is the parliament. It is a one-party parliament, with 122 deputies, out of 140 in total. Because all opposition MPs left parliament because of the autocratic behavior of the majority since the last elections ...

Euronews: We understand what you mean. With all due respect ... Mr. President. We understand where you want to say the political composition.

Ilir Meta: All these institutions belong to one party, as well as the judiciary, through anti-constitutional laws that give the police the role of prosecutor and judge.

Euronews: I understand your intention for the political composition of the country. But what we want to say is that you as president had to be neutral. You asked for the annulment of elections last year. This is a classic case of going beyond competencies. You had to be above the political parties.

Meta: Of course. But how can I be above parties when the state in Albania is completely seized by the majority.

When they control everything and as the last months and days have shown, they also want to seize the president's constitutional powers to appoint constitutional judges based on manipulation, falsification of documents, in a very criminal way.

Euronews: But the constitution was voted on in 2016, and implemented in 2018. Aren't you just doing this to avoid dismissal?

Meta: No, it's just political pressure. It was also clear that the OSCE-ODIHR also confirmed in their reports that one-party elections were not legitimate.

And as the president's decree on new comprehensive, lawful local elections said: had not been published in the official notebook, due to an order issued by the justice and government ministries.

It is not a battle between the president and the government. It is the latest attempt, by the latest law, against the constitution, to control the constitutional court, the most important institution that will guarantee the constitutional rights of citizens. This is the problem. That is why I address the people because sovereignty in the republic of Albania belongs only to the people.

Euronews: From the outside, it looks like a personal fight between you and the Prime Minister, Edi Rama.

Meta: No, it is not a political war. I am fighting for the rule of law in Albania, to defend democracy from the one-party regime that has occupied every independent institution in this country, and will now seize the Constitutional Court.

Euronews: Do Albanians deserve more than political clashes?

It is a very poor country, by European standards. You had an earthquake last year. Is it not the people's advantage to see this spectacle?

Ilir Meta: Of course the situation is critical because Albania has violated European standards, has violated every day the Copenhagen criteria, and now it is the last battle for democracy and restoration of constitutional order in the country.

Euronews: How do you think this clash should be resolved?

Meta: I have exhausted all institutional ways. I tried to avoid institutional clashes. But they were determined to seize the Constitutional Court as well.

This is unacceptable. I have been warning them for months that this is the red line for the president because the first and last responsibility of the president is to protect the Constitution.

Only the Constitution guarantees national unity.

Euronews: What about the call for protest?

Meta: I want the citizens' voice to be heard now, and the whole world to see what the Albanian people think about this situation. I am sure they will give a clear message. Not wanting to return to a one-party regime, as we have lived for 50 years.

Euronews: Albania wants to join the EU, of course. They want the accession process to start. Doesn't this make the process go backward?

Ilir Meta: Dear Friend, Building a Constitutional Court based on the Constitution and integrity is one of the key conditions of the German Bundestag and its European partners. Albania has many problems with the rule of law, but if we continue in this direction, the opening of negotiations will remain a dream for years.

Euronews: President Ilir Meta, directly from Tirana. Thank you for joining us in this Euronews program, Good Morning Europe.

Meta: Thank you and I see you on March 2.
The Albanians at March 2 protest to defend democracy from one-party regime, Ilir Meta says to Euronews The Albanians at March 2 protest to defend democracy from one-party regime, Ilir Meta says to Euronews Thursday, February 27, 2020 Rating: 5
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