Albania will not have a new President today, as MPs failed to endorse a single candidate for the second round of voting that is scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. on Monday.
A similar scenario played out during the first voting round on May 16. In the aftermath, the Socialist majority reached an agreement with the opposition Democratic Party (PD). Under this agreement, the PD would pre-select four presidential candidates which the PS would then whittle down to two. A joint committee would then select a final candidate to be presented to Parliament for a vote.
Balla met with opposition leaders throughout last week to hammer out a deal. The one reached on Wednesday means that the opposition will not be able to propose a candidate for the fourth and fifth round, with the PS having full power to elect a new President through simple majority.
The PD had until Sunday to submit their candidates, but failed to do so. As a result, MPs today have no one to vote for, but the round will be considered fulfilled nonetheless. This means that the PD has only one more round left to make their vote matter.
Prime Minister Edi Rama has already declared that if an unanimous decision is not reached between the parties, the Socialists will have no choice but to proceed with their own appointment.
Meanwhile, Alibeaj’s decision to sign a deal with the PS has been criticized by members of the so-called Refoundation Committee, a “splinter” of the Democratic Party initiated by former leader Sali Berisha and whose popularity means it represents the will of the majority of the party.
On Sunday, the PD’s Refoundation Committee hed leadership elections, which Berisha won easily. It is unclear how they will influence the legitimacy of the Presidential elections given that Alibeaj—who has been representing the PD in the negotiations—was officially sacked during a recent assembly of the party’s highest decision-making body.
Furthermore, an outstanding court case is soon set to rule on the legitimacy of the national assemblies that remade the PD.