Today, Albanian President Ilir Meta filed a suit at the Constitutional Court against the government, demanding the repeal of the decision to transfer National Theatre land ownership to the Tirana municipality.
Meta announced the news during a press conference.
A few days ago, the President’s legal counsel threatened to take the government to court unless the government gave up its plan to demolish the National Theatre.
He claimed that the government’s decision aims to erase cultural heritage and national identity. This decision is constitutionally problematic in the same ways the Special Law for the National Theatre was. Meta said that both have a clear purpose: the demolition of the National Theatre.
The repeal of these acts is necessary as they violate the Constitution, constitutional principles and international conventions ratified by Albania.
The President argued that the government’s decision also violates the Law on Local Governance. The municipality can aim at preserving and developing cultural heritage, but it cannot decide on its legal fate.
The National Theatre is owned by the Republic of Albania, Meta stated, and it cannot be passed to the municipality of Tirana.
He also asked the Constitutional Court to suspend the government’s decision and the Special Law until the Court comes to a final judgement.
Meta’s suit followed news that tomorrow the Tirana municipal council would vote on a draft decision to demolish the National Theatre building.
On July 25, 2019, President Ilir Meta filed a suit with the Constitutional Court, asking for the National Theatre Special Law to be declared unconstitutional. Due to the Court being defunct at the time, this suit was only taken under review in late 2019.
On December 30, 2019, the Constitutional Court asked the Parliament, the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Finances, the Ministry of Culture, and the Tirana municipality to submit their arguments for the Special Law. The case has not yet gone to court.
President Meta’s official statement can be found here.