The Parliament dismissed Arben Malaj from his duty as member of the Bank of Albania board. 72 of the 78 MPs of the ruling Socialist Party voted in favor of the government request to dismiss Malaj.
The Socialist majority attempted to fire Malaj in July 2019 as well, in what appeared to be an anti-constitutional initiative started by MPs. Their proposal was an attempt to take over competencies of an independent institution, Bank of Albania, in violation of the law. What triggered Prime Minister Edi Rama’s ire Socialists’ ire back in July were Malaj’s comments in support of artists protesting against the demolition of the National Theater. The request for Malaj’s dismissal was presented to the Parliament but it was not followed up.
Then the government suspended Malaj less than two weeks ago after several comments concerning the earthquake aftermath. It asked the parliament to dismiss the board member over alleged political comments in violation with the law.
Whilst from a procedural viewpoint the government has the right to suspend a BoA board member, and the Parliament can in principle dismiss him upon government request, it’s not clear whether conditions for Malaj’s dismissal were met. Government motivation and the detailed report clarifying the arguments for his dismissal have not been made public.
Malaj had stated earlier that the process for his dismissal was political, and it had nothing to do with any alleged violation of ethics, as claimed by the government.
In yesterday’s plenary session, he said he will defend the independence of the Bank of Albania by seeking justice for his illegal dismissal at the European Court of Human Rights.
In yesterday’s session, the Parliament also approved two very controversial laws that appear to restrict the media freedom in Albania.