President Ilir Meta has formally requested that the Venice Commission give an opinion on the process of election of Constitutional Court members in Albania.
In a letter sent to the Council of Europe’s specialist constitutional experts committee, he expressed his concerns over the non-functioning of the countries Constitutional Court as well as the Supreme Court. He also highlighted the sui generis crisis of representation where Government, Parliament, all Municipalities and Municipal Councils are in the hands of the Socialist Party.
Meta also thanked the Venice Commission for their ongoing support and advice, but regrettably reported there was “no reflection as a follow-up to your advice and recommendations.” Meta noted that Albania is facing a “total disequilibrium of the check and balance mechanisms and to the brink of state capture” and “towards autocracy”.
The President explained that had prior Venice Commission recommendations been properly implemented, the country would not be in crisis. He accused the government of trying to hijack the constitutional powers of the President and trying to capture the highest institution of justice, the Constitutional Court.
He also wrote how the Socialist Party-controlled Parliament was persisting in its “systematic pressure against the President to nominate in the Constitutional Court the candidates who enjoyed the political support of the majority.” This he said, was being done against a backdrop of possible impeachment.
President Meta called upon the Commission to consider the constitutionality of the actions of all involved in reestablishing the Constitutional Court.
“In view of a serious unprecedented crisis, and while thousands of Albanian citizens are abandoning the country due to violations of their fundamental freedoms and non-functioning of the rule of law, I would like to bring to your kind attention that this Opinion of the Venice Commission will have a direct impact on the course Albania is about to take, towards democracy or installation of dictatorship!”
His letter then lays out a number of facts, timelines and questions, particularly focused on the election by Parliament of Constitutional Court members, as well as relevant sections of the law for the Commission to consider in their opinion.