The Venice Commission has stated in its draft opinion that the latest changes in the Albanian Constitution were “extremely hasty”, and that it should be the Constitutional Court of Albania to decide on their constitutionality.
The draft opinion highlights that changes made to the formula of coalitions and party lists of MP candidates are unlikely to lead to changes in the allocation of a large number of parliamentary seats.
The document, sent to parties involved, was made public on Wednesday by several media outlets.
“The Venice Commission and ODIHR regret that the procedure for the adoption of the amendments to the Constitution as well as of Law No. 118 was extremely hasty. A wide consultation among the political stakeholders and non-governmental organisations, providing adequate time-frame, should have taken place before the amendment of such fundamental texts,” it states.
It adds that it should be the constitutional Court to decide whether the changes comply with the Constitution.
“The opinion will not address the constitutionality of the amendments. This should be the task of the Constitutional Court as soon as it becomes functional again,” it reads.
The Venice Commission recommends the Albanian institutions to do the following before the April 2021 elections:
- That all authorities engage in dialogue and implement the electoral law on time;
- That the parliament makes no more changes to the electoral legislation before elections, including the delimitation of constituencies;
- That leaders of political parties are not candidates in multiple constituencies.
The draft opinion highlights the “vital importance” for Albania to restore the Constitutional Court and the High Court.
The opinion on the constitutionality of the parliament’s amendments was asked by President Ilir Meta after the majority and the parliamentary opposition changed the Constitution in July and the Electoral Code in October.
The changes came after the parliamentary parties and the extra-parliamentary opposition had reached an agreement on electoral reform. The opposition claimed that the additional changes violated the agreed electoral reform, but the majority denied it.