11 June 2019 STATEMENT OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC, H.E. ILIR META
I. With outmost state responsibility, on June 8, ahead of opposition’s national protest, I decided to revoke the decree for holding local elections on 30 June, 2019.
This decision was taken with full accountability following a comprehensive assessment of all circumstances, facts and information assembled in my capacity as Head of State, regarding a potential provocation of a destabilizing conflict with repercussions for the life and health of the citizens, public safety and the constitutional order of the country on 8 of June.
Yesterday I also publicly announced all the constitutional, legal and logical arguments upon which this decision was taken.
Since then, I have noticed emotive reactions, various accusations and constitutional-political interpretations claiming that the President of the Republic has violated the constitution, even threatened the Republic, and so on, by deliberately creating a state of confusion and dismay over this issue.
Knowing far too well that in Tirana are circulating various models and publications of the text of the Constitution, some also badly translated in English, Italian, and so on, I am obliged to once more to have this press conference.
In order to better help all those who are misinformed, or are lost in a bad translation, yet wish to read accurately the fundamental law of the Albanian state, I wish to inform that the Constitution of the Republic of Albania, the official version in force, is this one, the one I am showing to you right at this moment.
The Constitution of the Republic of Albania, beginning from article 1 and until the end, does not specify any deadline – either day or month – when elections for the local government can be held.
Article 109 of the Constitution clearly states that “the representative bodies of the basic units of local government are elected every four years by general elections, direct and by secret voting”.
The constitution does not specify that elections take place on the 1st or 30th of this or that month.
These formal details can be found in the Electoral Code, towards which, as you also know well, and as the Political Parties know even better, how it has been regarded and honored.
In some cases, which are well known, they have changed not only the Code, but even the Constitution within a single night.
II. How can it be explained that former Presidents who have decided to revoke their previous decrees, and have postponed the dates of local and general elections have not been accused of constitutional violations?
My honorable predecessors at this office truly have not violated the constitution, but in respect of its principles, have made the best choice for the country, referring to the circumstances that have dictated their solution.
On the other hand, we have heard during the last two or three days that any of the President’s decisions to postpone the election date should only be done with by permit of the two Political Parties!
Thus, according to them, the President must have the permit from the Political Parties, and should only notarize their will, in order to be okay with the Constitution?
It is public knowledge that the first precedent for the postponement of local elections by the President of the Republic was created, thanks to the exclusive contribution of the Head of the Socialist Party, at the time Mayor of Tirana, Mr. Rama in December 2006-January 2007.
III. The decision of the President of the Republic to revoke the Decree for conducting elections on the 30th of June became mandatory due to reciprocal and intentional escalation of the positions and hysteric actions of both political parties to increase the tension in the country, including the risk of a culminating clash between them on 30th of June.
Both sides had announced that the election date set by the President, 30th of June, would be a showcase battle of respective power, for life or death.
Therefore, with a strong and unwavering conviction, also in my capacity as the Chair of National Security Council, I took the right decision to avoid civil conflict in the country and to saving democracy and the European future of Albania.
The Republic is not a mono-party system but a pluralistic one, with free and fair elections, with equal opportunities and chances for all.
In addition, the Republic cannot be either total capture of the institutions by the majority, or their total de-legitimization by the opposition.
The President of the Republic assures the citizens of the Republic of Albania that the elections for the local government will be held at a later date, always within a reasonable time frame in accordance with the spirit of Constitution.
They will have to be free, fair, democratic and competitive elections.
Meanwhile, the President calls upon the parties to read together and with seriousness the Constitution of the Republic of Albania and make use of the time span I have offered, to find an urgent solution to the crisis, including agreeing on a new date for the participation of all sides in the elections.
The President of the Republic guarantees the Albanian people that he is on duty and willing to take important decisions that will be dictated by the situation and the country’s best interest, compliant with the powers vested upon my by the Constitution and loyal to my solemn oath to serving the general interest and progress of the Albanian people!
The President invites all sides to understand the necessity of finding an urgent solution of this crisis through dialogue, the only act that would favor the opening of accession negotiations with the European Union as soon as possible.