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Albania parliament committee recommends impeaching president

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — An Albanian parliamentary committee issued a report Friday recommending that the country’s president be impeached for violating the constitution and fired.

The investigative committee concluded that President Ilir Meta violated 16 articles of the constitution. The report said the alleged breaches occurred before Albania’s April 25 general election when Meta “openly campaigned against the governing party at a time when the people conceive his role as a unifying one.”

Lawmakers formed the committee earlier this month 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.

The committee’s report is to be debated and voted on in parliament. Impeaching Meta requires a two-thirds majority, which the Socialists do not have, and the approval of Albania’s Constitutional Court.

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

“No comment and zero concern on any null decision or anti-constitutional and illegal activity of the one-party Assembly (parliament),” Meta’s spokesman, Tedi Blushi, said of the committee’s report.

The president intends to remain in office until July 2022, when his term is set to end, Blushi said.

During the election campaign, 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.


Follow Llazar Semini at https://twitter.com/lsemini

Llazar Semini, The Associated Press