Albania’s Academy of Sciences (ASH) nominated former politician Skënder Gjinushi as its president, based on a new law that entered into force on October 9. It appears that the ASH Assembly might have applied the law retroactively, which the law does not prescribe.
Gjinushi was elected five months ago in a process that the President of Albania deemed unconstitutional and illegal. According to the Law on the Academy of Sciences at that time, the President of Albania had the last word to either nominate or refuse the nomination of the president of the ASH.
President Meta refused to nominate Gjinushi after elections, arguing that the law explicitly prohibited the head of a political party to run for president of the ASH. Gjinushi was the head of the Social-Democratic Party.
The socialist Party and the Assembly of the ASH publicly rejected Meta’s disapproval of Gjinushi and attacked the president.
Then the Parliament approved a new law on the ASH, prepared under the leadership of Gjinushi. President Meta vetoed this law also for being unconstitutional, and returned it to parliament. The new law prescribes that if the president of Albania vetoes the nomination of the academy’s president, then the ASH Assembly can overturn his decision and nominate the president-elect on their own.
Last month the parliament rejected President Meta’s veto on the new law, and approved it for a second time. It entered into force on October 9.
Based on the new law, yesterday the ASH Assembly completed the nomination of Gjinushi (elected through the old law) by rejecting President Meta’s veto on his nomination.
Member of the ASH Artan Fuga stated that yesterday’s nomination was “unconstitutional, illegal and a usurpation” of the institution. Fuga went on to explain that the law required the ASH to hold new elections, get president’s nomination or refusal, and then have the Assembly to confirm or reject the president’s decision.
Skënder Gjinushi’s Social-Democratic Party was in coalition with the ruling Socialist Party in the last elections. Gjinushi was appointed by Prime Minister Edi Rama to lead the reforming of the academy. He then decided to run unopposed for academy’s president.
Gjinushi’s election five months ago appeared to be in open violation of the Constitution and Law on the Academy of Science.
The opposition Democratic Party stated yesterday that they would take the issue to the Constitutional Court.