From: Exit Staff
President to Report Minister of Justice to Special Prosecution over Constitutional Court Crisis

President Ilir Meta has stated he will filed a report with the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecution Office (SPAK) on Monday, asking for investigations into Minister of Justice Etilda Gjonaj. Meta urged Gjonaj to resign.

He argued in a press release on Friday that Gjonaj had committed “grave criminal offenses of abuse of office, exercise of unlawful influence, flagrant forgery […] in connection with the illegal publication in the Official Gazette of a decision of an independent body such as that of the Justice Appointment Council [KED].”

The KED decisions ought to be published on the website of the High Court, but the one involving the ranking of Constitutional Court candidates was published on the Official Gazette.

President Ilir Meta argued that Minister Gjonaj ordered the Secretary General to publish it, without a legal mandate, with the intent to steer public opinion from the “mafia scenario of capturing the Constitutional Court.” Meta said this was an “attempt of coup d’état”.

The KED sent lists of candidates, both to the President and Parliament, at the same time, which led to a de facto unconstitutional situation, in which both President and Parliament were forced to elect (within the 30 day constitutional deadline) two candidates each, in violation of the rotation prescribed by the Constitution. Here is a detailed description of the ensuing constitutional crisis.

Minister Gjonaj responded by saying that the President is “ethically unbalanced”, against the justice reform, and his report to SPAK is his “next lunacy”. Gjonaj said Meta could decide on his own resignation instead.

The president has filed charges against the KED Chair Ardian Dvorani over related violations. He has accused Prime Minister Edi Rama of attempting a coup d’état via a number of manoeuvres undertaken over the past two years. On Wednesday, he invited the people to protest on March 2 against the coup.