8 July 2019 The position of the President of the Republic H.E. Ilir Meta on the legal situation after 30 June and resolution of the crisis.
The President of the Republic, by Decree no. 11199, dated 10.06.2019, decided “The annulment of the President’s Decree No.10928, dated 05.11.2018 “On the Setting of the Election Date for the Local Government Bodies “, thus annulling the date 30 June 2019 as the Election Day for the bodies of local government in the Republic of Albania.
The President undertook this act fully based on the provisions of the Constitution and based on completely constitutional arguments.
This Decree was published in the Official Gazette No. 84, on Tuesday, 11 June 2019.
The Decree of the President of the Republic, referring to;
– the constitutional provisions which its issuance is based upon;
– the fully constitutional activity of the Head of State;
– constitutional principles, fundamental rights and freedom for the protection of which this act is issued;
– the legal-social relations that this act regulates;
– as well as referring to the entirely constitutional arguments on the basis of which it was taken,
it is an act of a completely specific legal and constitutional nature, and as such, no one other than the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Albania can review His validity and constitutionality.
This Decree, for the annulment of June 30, 2019 as Election Day for Local Government Bodies, up today, has not been contested by any political force or any other political or non-political entity before a court in the Republic of Albania, including the Electoral College.
The Decree of the President of the Republic, No. 11199, dated 10.06.2019, to this day,
– has not been changed;
– has not been annulled;
– and has not been abrogated;
by the Electoral College, or by any other court in the Republic of Albania.
The Decree no.11199, dated 10.06.2019 is in force and mandatory for implementation by all.
Article 145 of the Electoral Code, defines that the Electoral College in Albania examines the following types of complaints and appeals:
– Appeals of each electoral subject against the verdicts of the Central Election Commission, when they violate their legitimate interests;
– Appeals by individuals or political parties to whom it has been denied the request for registration as an electoral subject;
– Appeals of electoral subjects for not-taking the decision within the legal deadline by the CEC;
– Appeals of any political party, coalition, candidate, Albanian or foreign non-governmental organization, as well as international specialized organizations whose requests for accreditation of election observers have been rejected.
Therefore, according to the Electoral Code, the Electoral College is not competent to review the validity of the Presidential Decrees, as this right is not provided by the Constitution, nor the Electoral Code or any other law in force in the Republic of Albania.
In the absence of the Constitutional Court, which would have to review any claim on the constitutionality of the Decree of the President of the Republic, the Socialist Party and the CEC, using the National Unity Party (PUK, the ally of the Socialist Party in these elections) staged a procedural action to indirectly anathematize the Head of State’s decision in order to build a propaganda operation within and outside the country, in order to misinform that the Decree of the President was abolished by the Electoral College.
The undertaking of a process at the Electoral College by the PUK party, was just an attempt by the Socialist Party to politically justify the illegality of its members’ activities in the CEC.
This coordinated activity of the CEC, the Socialist Party and the Electoral College, was expected to fail, because there was no legal possibility to happen otherwise.
The Electoral College, by its Verdict No. 12, dated 24.06.2019, has decided:
- The dismissal of the claim of the appealing party, the National Unity Party.
This party’s appeal in the College was: “Objection of the Decision by the Central Election Commission, Decision No. 836 dated 13.06.2019, by which was rejected the request of this party to be unregistered from the imaginary elections of June 30, 2019”.
This verdict of the College does not affect at all the validity of the Decree of the President of the Republic.
In this judicial process, the Institution of the President of the Republic has not been summoned by the Electoral College to be a party to the proceedings.
In this verdict, three members of the Electoral College, in some lines of the reasoning section have given their interpretation on the CEC’s activity regarding the Presidential Decree. This interpretation is an ugly attempt, a procedural trick to publicly create a different image from the fact, because the verdict taken by the Electoral College did not affect at all the President’s Decree no. 11199, dated 10.06.2019.
This verdict by the Electoral College has not ordered in its enactment any obligation to create legal consequences on the Decree and the Institution of the President of the Republic, consequently also on the fact of annulment of June 30 as election day.
Pursuant to Articles 145, 155, 156, 158 of the Electoral Code and the Rules of the Civil Procedure Code, the verdicts of the Electoral College have effect only against the parties in the process and only for what is decided between the two parties: i.e. between the Central Election Commission and the ally of the Socialist Party, the National Unity Party (PUK).
The decree of President No. 11199, dated 10.06.2019, on the annulment of June 30 as the day of local elections for the local government, was taken in full compliance with the Constitution and the fundamental principles protected by it. Consequently, only the Constitutional Court can review the constitutionality of the Decree of the President of the Republic.
Even Ambassador Audrey Glover, head of OSCE / ODIHR observers mission to the Local Elections 2019, notes in the report of preliminary findings published on 01 July 2019, that:
“The decrees of the June 10 and 27 June of the President and especially the various reactions that they generated between institutional and political actors, all contributed to a legal and political uncertainty. Things became even more complex due to the lack of a Constitutional Court and a functioning Supreme Court, where the former (the Constitutional Court) is the only body mandated to decide on the constitutionality of the presidential decrees.”
As the above, referring to the Constitutional provisions which provide that the President of the Republic is the only constitutional authority that sets the date of the elections, as well as the fact that the President’s Decree no.11199, dated 10.06.2019, for the annulment of elections for local government of 30 June, has not been affected and has not been violated to this day by any domestic and international court, reaffirms once again the fact that this act of the President of the Republic, based entirely on Constitutional arguments, is in effect and mandatory for implementation by all.
Consequently, the electoral activity organized and administrated by the Central Election Commission on 30 June 2019 is a completely illegal, unconstitutional voting process and does not create any legal consequence, because, among other things, June 30, 2019, does not exist legally as a date of election for the bodies of local government in the Republic of Albania.
Following the annulment of June 30, 2019 as election day for the local government bodies, the President of the Republic, to ensure that all citizens of the Republic of Albania vote in a fair, secret, free and democratic manner, in a calm and non-conflictual environment, and out of any potential threat of a social conflict, according to the articles: 1/3, 3, 4, 5, 15, 45/1 and 4, 86/1, 92 letter “gj”, 93 , 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Albania, on 27.06.2019, the President of the Republic by Decree no. 11 211, dated 27.06.2019, decided that:
“The elections for local government bodies are scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 13, 2019.” Therefore, legally the elections should be held on this date.
The notification of this act was immediately sent to the CEC and is in force and mandatory for implementation by all.
Likewise, regarding the improper comparison made between the Albanian Electoral College and the American Electoral College is entirely intentional to create legal confusion, mining the rule of law in Albania and confusing and misleading the international opinion.
In the American system, the candidate for President or the President himself, when he is running for a second term, is a competitive subject in the election, thus is considered a competing electoral subject.
In this way, he may file allegations at the Electoral College on the results of the elections / the voting conducted, or on other electoral (procedural and material) issues.
Whereas, according to the Albanian system, the President of the Republic is not a competitive subject in the elections, therefore He is not an electoral subject.
According to the Constitution, the President of the Republic is the only constitutional authority with constitutional competence to set the date of the elections to be held for the Parliament, the Local Government and the Referendums. (Article 92 / gj of the Constitution). This competence of the President is also provided in the Electoral Code.
Likewise, there is also a big difference in terms of the composition of both Electoral Colleges, the American and Albanian Electoral Colleges.
The Electoral College in Albania consists of 8 (eight) judges selected by drawing a lot from the High Judicial Council and functions at the Tirana Court of Appeal.
The Electoral College in Albania consists of judges and does not have the competence to review either the claims of the President of the Republic or the decrees issued by him.
Therefore, the comparison between the two Electoral Colleges (American and Albanian) does not stand and is completely wrong.
In conclusion, we bring to attention that:
The President of the Republic, after annulling the date of June 30, 2019 as election day, to ensure that all citizens of the Republic of Albania vote in a fair, secret, free and democratic manner, in a calm and non-conflictual environment, and out of any potential threat of a social conflict, according to the articles: 1/3, 3, 4, 5, 15, 45/1 and 4, 86/1, 92 letter “gj”, 93 , 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Albania, on 27.06.2019, the President of the Republic by Decree no. 11 211, dated 27.06.2019, decided that:
“Elections for local government bodies in the Republic of Albania are set to be held on Sunday, 13 October 2019,” and will be legally held on this date.
This act has entered into force immediately and is mandatory for implementation by all. This act was immediately forwarded for implementation to the Central Election Commission.
Noting this clear legal situation that the June 30th elections do not exist legally, and reemphasizing that the October 13th decree is an excellent opportunity to guaranteeing inclusive and democratic local elections, the President of the Republic invites all sides not to deepen in the path of lawlessness, bias and conflictual positions.
In addition, evaluating the serious crisis of representation in the country, the President of the Republic calls upon all actors to join his proposal that on 13 October, Albanian citizens should also vote for the Albanian Parliament and the President of the Republic.
It is time to restore the sovereignty to all the citizens of Albania!