Tirana, 14 June 2019 (dpa/MIA) – Albanian parliament voted on Thursday in favour of a resolution saying President Ilir Meta violated the constitution with a decision to scrap upcoming elections.
Parliament passed the resolution 100 in favour and seven against, without the presence of many opposition lawmakers, who have been boycotting parliament since February and protesting in the streets.
On Saturday, Meta said “no genuine, democratic and representative elections are possible.”
Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama has since said that Meta should be dismissed because of the decision and has promised that the local elections will go ahead as scheduled on June 30.
“Ilir Meta lost the right to occupy the office,” he told lawmakers Thursday.
However the president can only be dismissed through an impeachment process, requiring a two-thirds majority in parliament, which Rama does not have.
The opposition accuses Rama of corruption and links with organized crime and demands he makes way for a technical government which would ensure fair early parliamentary elections.
The street protests of the opposition lined up behind the conservative Democratic Party and its leader, Llulzim Basha, routinely turn violent.
Albania joined NATO in 2009 and applied for EU membership that same year, but was not yet invited to begin accession talks, due to a lack in reforms, especially in the area of justice.
The European Commission recommended member states begin the talks with Albania last year and then again this month.
Rama fired back at the opposition, warning that it is jeopardizing the prospect of EU membership talks with its protests and refusal to return to parliament.