Is Sandër Lleshaj a General or Not?

After two weeks of political controversy of Prime Minister Edi Rama’s proposal of General Sandër Lleshaj as Minister of Interior following Fatmir Xhafaj unexpected – and unexplained – departure, it appears that President Ilir Meta has made his objections to Lleshaj more concrete.

Initially, President Meta refused to decree Lleshaj for unknown reasons, after which Prime Minister Rama appointed Lleshaj as Deputy Minister of Interior, illegally claiming he would simply fulfill the position of Minister. After pressure from the US and EU, the Prime Minister resubmitted Llashaj’s nomination.

In a letter released after the weekend, President Ilir Meta now asks the Ministry of Defense about Lleshaj’s actual status in the Albanian armed forces. According to Constitution art. 67, 107, and 167/1, soldiers in active service are not eligible for office.

General Lleshaj was relieved of his duties on May 21, 2013 by then President Bujar Nishani at the order of then Minister of Defense Arben Imami. Llashaj appealed the decision at the Court of Tirana, which on December 17 of the same ordered his reinstatement as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces.

It is unclear whether Lleshaj still holds that position, or a different one, in the army.