Top Albanian Court To Rule On President Meta's Impeachment

FILE - In this Wednesday, April 21, 2021 file photo, Albanian President Ilir Meta speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Tirana, Albania. Albania’s Constitutional Court said on Friday Oct. 15, 2021, it will examine the legality of parliament's decision to impeach the country's figurehead president for alleged constitutional violations. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, April 21, 2021 file photo, Albanian President Ilir Meta speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Tirana, Albania. Albania’s Constitutional Court said on Friday Oct. 15, 2021, it will examine the legality of parliament's decision to impeach the country's figurehead president for alleged constitutional violations. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina, File)

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania’s Constitutional Court said on Friday it will examine the legality of parliament's decision to impeach the country's figurehead president for alleged constitutional violations.

If the court upholds the decision then President Ilir Meta will be removed from office a year early.

The court said it would hold a public plenary session on the matter, but did not set a date.

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 Prime Minister Edi Rama’s Socialist government.

In June, parliament voted 104-7 to impeach Meta, after an investigative committee started the impeachment process — the first-ever for an Albanian president — following a request by governing Socialist lawmakers.

The parliamentary investigation issued a 98-page report concluding that Meta had violated 16 articles of the constitution before Albania’s April 25 general election and should be removed from office a year earlier than July 2022, when his term would normally end.

Meta claimed that the outgoing parliament was in a post-election transition period and therefore ineligible to conduct the investigation.

Meta, a former Socialist prime minister who left the party many years ago, was accused by the Socialists of not guaranteeing national unity, inciting instability and violence, and publicly siding with the political opposition ahead of April's election.

The Socialists won their third consecutive four-year term with 74 of parliament’s 140 seats.

Since taking office in 2017 with the support of the Socialists, Meta has opposed their agenda, often blocking the nominations of ministers and vetoing legislation.

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

___

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