Following President Ilir Meta’s call for protest on March 2, US Ambassador Yuri Kim has urged Albanian leaders to respect institutions and democratic processes.
In separate meetings she had on Wednesday with President Meta, Prime Minister Edi Rama and opposition leader Lulzim Basha, Ambassador Kim also urged them to behave responsibly and at the benefit of the Albanian people.
“I discussed also the important steps that Albania needs to undertake in the coming weeks and months, by demonstrating maturity, respect for institutions, and faith in democratic processes. We expect Albania’s leaders to conduct themselves in a manner that is responsible and has the aim of benefiting the Albanian people. We assure the Albanian people that we will be there to watch and contribute,” Ambassador Kim stated in a press release on Wednesday.
The ambassador also underlined that the US expects the government to be transparent and accountable with the earthquake reconstruction program.
On Wednesday, President Meta invited the people to protest on March 2 against what he called a “coup d’etat” on the part of the Rama government.
Meta’s statement comes as a result of legal changes passed by the Socialist ruled parliament that would remove jurisdictional power over constitutional judges from the president’s hands, by erasing a provision that requires Constitutional Court members to swear in before the President of the Republic.
The president repeated his call for protest today in a Facebook post. He wrote that the government is implementing a coup d’etat, which becomes clear by its attempt to capture the Constitutional Court.
“[The government] aims at establishing a dictatorship of the minority, [because] it fears the freedom of the Albanian people, and seeks to eliminate any democratic opportunity for change and accountability,” Meta wrote.
Referring to Albanians’ medieval national hero Skanderbeg, who convened the League of Lezha to form a unified Albanian front against the Ottoman Empire on 2 March 1444, Meta stated that in 2020 protesting Albanians will form a New League:
“[…] So on March 2 we make a New League to restore the lost sovereignty to the Albanian people and restore democracy, accountability and the rule of the Constitution. Albania first! [Long live] Albanians’ albaniannness!” he concluded in his post.