Albania court overturns president’s impeachment

February 17, 2022 GMT
FILE - Albanian President Ilir Meta speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Tirana, Albania, on April 21, 2021. Albania’s Constitutional Court met Tuesday to pass judgment on Parliament’s impeachment of President Ilir Meta for violating the constitution and its decision to discharge him from the post. The Court’s verdict is the last step in the process whether the president will stay or continue until his term ends in July. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina, File)
FILE - Albanian President Ilir Meta speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Tirana, Albania, on April 21, 2021. Albania’s Constitutional Court met Tuesday to pass judgment on Parliament’s impeachment of President Ilir Meta for violating the constitution and its decision to discharge him from the post. The Court’s verdict is the last step in the process whether the president will stay or continue until his term ends in July. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina, File)
FILE - Albanian President Ilir Meta speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Tirana, Albania, on April 21, 2021. Albania’s Constitutional Court met Tuesday to pass judgment on Parliament’s impeachment of President Ilir Meta for violating the constitution and its decision to discharge him from the post. The Court’s verdict is the last step in the process whether the president will stay or continue until his term ends in July. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina, File)
FILE - Albanian President Ilir Meta speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Tirana, Albania, on April 21, 2021. Albania’s Constitutional Court met Tuesday to pass judgment on Parliament’s impeachment of President Ilir Meta for violating the constitution and its decision to discharge him from the post. The Court’s verdict is the last step in the process whether the president will stay or continue until his term ends in July. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina, File)
FILE - Albanian President Ilir Meta speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Tirana, Albania, on April 21, 2021. Albania’s Constitutional Court met Tuesday to pass judgment on Parliament’s impeachment of President Ilir Meta for violating the constitution and its decision to discharge him from the post. The Court’s verdict is the last step in the process whether the president will stay or continue until his term ends in July. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina, File)

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania’s Constitutional Court has overturned parliament’s impeachment of President Ilir Meta for allegedly inciting instability and showing bias before the country’s parliamentary election last year.

The court said in a ruling issued late Wednesday that the evidence against Meta did not amount to “a grave violation of the Constitution,” which is a legal threshold for discharging a sitting president.

In June of last year, Albanian lawmakers voted 104-7 to impeach Meta after a parliamentary investigation concluded he had violated 16 constitutional articles and incited violence with his bias against the ruling Socialists during campaigning for the April 2021 election.

Meta, whose term ends in July, had denounced the investigation and impeachment, arguing they were illegal.

“ZERO SURPRISE for the president’s office! This issue should not have started!” Meta’s spokesman, Tedi Blushi, wrote on Facebook after the Constitutional Court handed down its decision. The ruling is final.

ADVERTISEMENT

The impeachment process was launched by 49 governing Socialist lawmakers who accused Meta, a former Socialist prime minister who left the party years ago, of inciting instability and violence in the Balkan nation and siding with the political opposition ahead of the election.

The Socialist Party ended up winning 74 of parliament’s 140 seats to earn a third four-year term governing Albania.

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 the Socialist government.

Since becoming president in 2017 with the support of the Socialists, Meta has opposed their agenda, blocked the nominations of ministers and vetoed.

___

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