Albania prime minister set on firing the country’s president

International
Ilir Meta

Albanian President Ilir Meta speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Tirana, Albania, Wednesday, April 21, 2021. Albania’s president waded deep into the country’s parliamentary election campaign Wednesday, accusing the left-wing government of running a “kleptocratic regime” and bungling its pandemic response. In an interview with The Associated Press, Ilir Meta also said he would step down if Prime Minister Edi Rama’s Socialists — who are leading the main opposition conservatives in opinion polls — win Sunday’s vote. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania’s prime minister expressed his determination Monday to remove the president from his post, claiming he has embarrassed the country.

Prime Minister Edi Rama said President Ilir Meta should be discharged. Rama’s Socialist Party has accused Meta of violating the constitution by taking political sides in an election last month.

Last week lawmakers formed an investigative committee to decide whether to impeach Meta. Forty-nine Socialist lawmakers have claimed that Meta failed in his constitutional duty to guarantee national unity by siding with the opposition before the April 25 election.

The Socialists won 74 of the 140 seats in parliament in that vote, allowing them to form a Cabinet on their own. Yet impeaching Meta requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament, which the Socialists do not have, and approval from Albania’s Constitutional Court.

Meta has said he will not recognize the parliamentary committee’s validity. His press office didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment on Rama’s words.

During the election campaign, Meta accused Rama of running a “kleptocratic regime” and concentrating all legislative, administrative and judiciary powers in his hands.

Albania’s presidency is largely ceremonial but carries some authority over the judiciary and the armed forces. The role is also generally understood to be apolitical, but Meta has regularly clashed with Rama’s government. His presidential term is scheduled to end in July 2022.

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Follow Llazar Semini at https://twitter.com/lsemini

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