Albania parliament to vote on president’s impeachment June 9

FILE - In this file photo dated Wednesday, April 21, 2021, Albanian President Ilir Meta speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Tirana, Albania. Albania's parliament said Monday May 31, 2021, they will hold an extraordinary session on June 9 to debate and vote on the possible impeachment of the countrys president Meta for allegedly violating the constitution. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina, FILE) (Hektor Pustina, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

TIRANA – Albania's parliament on Monday decided to hold an extraordinary session next week on the impeachment of the country’s president for allegedly violating the constitution.

The session will be held June 9 following a report by an investigative committee, which last week concluded that President Ilir Meta violated 16 articles of the constitution before Albania’s April 25 general election and should be removed from office a year earlier than his term ends.

Earlier this month, 49 governing Socialist lawmakers asked for the investigative committee to decide whether to impeach Meta for failing in his constitutional duty to guarantee national unity by siding with the opposition in the election. The governing Socialist Party ended up winning 74 of parliament’s 140 seats.

A two-thirds majority is required to impeach Meta, and the Socialists don't have the numbers in parliament to meet that threshold. But if lawmakers do vote to remove him from office, the final approval comes from Albania’s Constitutional Court within three months.

Meta argues that the outgoing assembly is in a post-election transition period and therefore is ineligible to conduct such investigation activities.

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

Albania’s presidency 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 regularly clashed with Rama’s government.


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