President Ilir Meta refused to approve the election of Skënder Gjinushi to President of the Academy of Sciences.
The last Minister of Education under the communist regime, Gjinushi was elected president of the academy on May 24, 2019. He was the only candidate for the position.
The law prescribes that the elected president of the academy must get the approval of the President of the Republic.
In today’s presidential decree refusing to approve him, Meta explained that Gjinushi was elected in violation of the law.
As we have argued earlier, the law on the Academy of Sciences prescribes that academy members who run for president must hold no political position. Gjinushi, Meta explained, has been the head of the Social Democratic Party of Albania since its foundation in 1991, and officially he still holds that position.
Furthermore, Meta argued that regular members of the academy also must not hold political positions. Apart from Gjinushi, the Academy of Science had also violated the law in approving his membership and letting him in this position for several years.
Meta also pointed out that despite having resigned from the leadership of his party few days after submitting his candidacy to president of the academy, Gjinushi’s resignation was yet to be approved by a final court verdict.
In April 4, 2019, Gjinushi registered his PSD party to run in the June 30 local elections. In the same month, he also signed a coalition agreement on local elections with the Head of Socialist Party and Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama.
Two years ago, Gjinushi took the lead of the reform of the Albanian Academy of Sciences with the backing of Prime Minister Edi Rama. Back then Rama said that, if the Academy opposed the reform, it would get zero funds from his government. Gjinushi planned the reform while he was president of a political party, and was quick to organize elections before it passed the parliament vote, ironically using the “old” law which he and Rama had always wanted to change.