18 July 2019 Statement of the President of the Republic in Xhafzotaj, Shijak
Question: Mr. Meta, you made an invitation to Mr. Rama to talk about the date of October 13. But he answered that, October 13 for him was like any other date refusing to be part of elections.
President Meta: I have the impression that the Prime Minister perhaps perceives 13th of October as a date of bad luck. But I want to assure him and everyone else, that the only date I have no chance to influence and that is very important to all Albanian citizens is October 17-18 when European Union leaders will decide on opening or not of the accession negotiations with Albania. Of course, also with North Macedonia.
It’s clear for all us that we managed to postpone June exam for October, in the fall, with very strong friends.
It is imperative to be fairly responsible and sincere to the Albanians. At least, I as the President of the Republic of Albania, but also Mr. Rama as the head of the Government and also the current majority, of course Mr. Basha as the leader of the opposition, that if before this date, 17-18 October, we will not be able to organize comprehensive local elections, and at the same time find a formula for overcoming this crisis, the fall test is second to none.
And instead of finding this solution, which we should have found at the very first moment when I signed the decree abrogating the date 30 June as a day of elections, at least we should not miss an hour and a second from today and on, because October 17-18 will be gone and October 19 will come.
On October 19, Albanians do not want to hear anyone’s justifications to play the next ping pong of blaming.
So it is clear that the only date I cannot affect is October 17-18, because this has been set by the European Union.
Secondly, I am flexible, since the PM’s fortune teller perceives this date as bad omen, but within the October 17 or 18 deadline… He is welcomed any moment within this timeframe.
I have been waiting for so long with patience, but hopefully, to make a responsible solution.
Otherwise, this crisis will continue to escalate, and no one should think that it will come out with zero cost.
Moreover, those who have worked hard to cook this mess in Albania today.
Question: Yesterday the Court of First Instance in Durrës has overturned Mrs. Sako’s mandate as mayor of the Municipality. What is your comment and does this court decision makes null and void any result of elections where there were representatives of “Bindja Demokratike”?
President Meta: Every judicial process that continues to evolve is a reflection of the legal clutter that unfortunately continues in the country and in our state.
This is a result of the lack of respect for the Constitution, the deliberate and unilateral mismanagement of constitutional changes that were reached by unanimous consensus three years ago. This was clearly demonstrated from the moment that through a parliamentary circular a decree of the President was proclaimed as inexistent and they instructed the socialist organization at CEC, but also pressured the Electoral College to interpret the dismissal of Mr. Idajet Beqiri’s request as a collapse of the decree of the President.
It should be clear to all Albanian citizens that there were no elections of Albanian citizens, state elections, constitutional elections, legal elections on 30 June. Whoever can say what they want, whether Albanian or foreign may say that a donkey can fly!
We can say that this can happen in art, it can happen in a dream and can happen in paintings, but we know that a donkey, at least here in Albania is not an eagle that can fly!
So all these maneuvers, these attempts and manipulations, all these favors, including the international favors, go against the international standards that Albania is obliged to meet, especially in terms of free and fair elections and rule of law, which are a non-negotiable standard to pass the autumn exam.
We must benefit from the very positive moment that North Macedonia has achieved with the Prespa Agreement, and not to harm their chances or to blackmail others, because it is very important for Albania to open negotiations, but it is very important that even North Macedonia opens these negotiations. Not only because of the very important neighborhood. Not only because of the excellent leadership that has been shown both from Prime Minister Zaev and President Pendarovski, but also for the Albanians in Northern Macedonia, who have been an extraordinary factor for the European integration of that country, but also for its NATO membership and who are expecting a positive message even for North Macedonia, as they do not want to leave that country. Instead, they want to realize the future as European citizens, in their country and with their families.
Question: Meanwhile a Parliamentary Inquiry Commission is investigating your dismissal. You are invited for a hearing. Will you be part of it?
President Meta: I have no concern for any parliamentary inquiry commission in Albania! For any court and any justice institution to judge my actions in Albania or any institution that has jurisdiction over the Republic of Albania! Not at all!
My only concern is the 19th of October.
What will we say to Albanians?! Will we say that it was Edi Rama’s fault?
Will we say that Lulzim Basha and Monika Kryemadhi are to blame?
We cannot hide the responsibility in front of all Albanian citizens.
Let’s not forget that twenty years ago Albania was ahead of Croatia in terms of the European integration process! Where is Croatia and where is Albania today?! If North Macedonia is to move forward in October, where are the European perspectives of young people of Albania, who unfortunately are leaving as if it were still 1990!
Question: Mr. President, what is your solution to the crisis?
President Meta: I am flexible to discuss the issue of October 13, as it may have created a sense of bad omen in someone. It does not matter to me. For me, only 17-18 October is important. I have no power, either anyone else, to change it, because it is an exclusivity of European Union.
I would like to emphasize once again: We have introduced a strong friend to postpone the exam from June to give us the opportunity to pass in the fall.
We cannot pass this exam without making comprehensive elections of democratic standards.
This is something that cannot be passed!
We cannot achieve membership negotiations by using international perks! Only with international standards! With European standards! Those who want the best from us have told this to us in an explicit way. And I know this very well, as so does Edi Rama and Lulzim Basha!
They can do whatever they want! Do they want any solution? They are welcomed to the Presidency at any time! I will always keep the most honest, fairest and most principle attitude! Do they want to solve it elsewhere? They know it’s a serious address where they can go, discuss it, resolve this issue, and I give them all the support needed. Do they want to play the next ping-pong of responsibility and blame? It’s ok! October 19 will come. It’s inevitable.
Question: From the meeting you had with the Democrat leader Mr. Basha, did you convince him that October 13 would be…?
President Meta: I give my suggestions to everyone. I do not impose on anyone in his decisions. When it comes to lawful elections, it is my job to ask the government to give a guarantee – because it must always give the guarantee that elections are free and fair – just as the opposition is responsible for participating in these democratic processes.
If the opposition does not want to participate in a legitimate process – and with opposition I mean the Democratic Party, the SMI, and some other parties – then I am sure that some other political forces will be encouraged to at least have candidates throughout Albania to register on time.