From: Exit Staff
Albanian President Begins Procedures to Call By-Elections for Empty Mayoral Seats

Albanian President Ilir Meta has begun procedures to organize by-elections to fill empty mayoral seats across Albania.

During a press conference on Friday (January 14), Meta announced he had requested information from the Central Election Committee (KQZ) on the mayoral seats that are currently empty.

Meta plans to call for by-elections to fill those seats as, according to him, the parties responsible for remedying the situation have failed to fulfil their duties.

The President also condemned the Albanian Constitutional Court, arguing that several judges have acted unprofessionally when reviewing a request by the Association of Albanian Municipalities to declare the 2019 elections invalid.

Local elections in June 2019 were boycotted by the opposition. President Meta canceled the date and set a new date for elections a few weeks later but the ruling Socialist Party refused to comply with his decision and organized elections on the canceled date nevertheless. They essentially ran uncontested and won all municipalities.

This is not the first time President Meta or his office has been critical of the Constitutional Court’s ruling that certified the 2019 local elections held in violation of presidential decrees. In December 2021, the President’s legal advisor, Bledar Dervishi, stated that the ruling failed to resolve the issue by avoiding a detailed review of the request submitted.

In November, the court ruled that the Association of Albanian Municipalities, who submitted the request to declare the 2019 elections invalid, did not have the jurisdiction to ask the Constitutional Court to conduct such a review.

Earlier, the Venice Commission had opined that the court could not review the constitutionality of the 2019 local elections.

Currently, six municipalities in Albania do not have an elected mayor as they were fired due to their criminal pasts or passed away.