President Meta starts the procedures for setting the date of the partial elections for the local government

President Meta starts the procedures for setting the date of the partial elections for the local government

1. Regarding the local government elections of June 30, 2019, when we expected that the Constitutional Court, through a fundamental decision-making, would return to the Albanian people the opportunity to express their will through a free, fair, secret and competitive electoral process, as well as in compliance with all constitutional and international standards, to elect its real representatives in local government.

2. Against this high and legitimate expectation of the Albanian people, but also of the international institutions, which had conditioned the progress of the process of opening of the negotiation and integration of Albania, even with the fulfillment of this condition, that Albania should have a final decision of the Constitutional Court on the local elections of June 30, 2019, this Court took no responsibility.

3. As you are aware, the Constitutional Court, with decision no. 36, dated 4.11.2021, decided to “Reject the request of the Association of Albanian Municipalities”, because according to the court, the request of the Association of Albanian Municipalities is not part of the constitutional jurisdiction, thus declaring itself incompetent to review these cases.

4. By declaring the lack of constitutional jurisdiction, in fact the court left this issue without a final solution, by not deepening at all into the examination of the foundations of the claims on the unconstitutionality of the voting process held on June 30, 2019.

5. With its decision-making, the Constitutional Court did not have the will to resolve this issue through the constitutional judicial jurisdiction, but left the matter again to the “political” jurisdiction.

6. After being officially acquainted with the explanatory report of the decision of the Constitutional Court, for the elections of June 30, 2019, through an official letter dated 9.12.2021, I asked the Court for a copy of the entire court file, which should have reflected in chronological form the procedural steps and acts that document from the initial moment of filing the request by the Association of Albanian Municipalities, the manner of appointing the rapporteur of the case, the discussions in the College and the Meeting of Judges, as well as all stages through which the reviewing of this case has been done, until the holding of the final public court session and the announcement of the decision.

7. This information I requested was made available to me by the Constitutional Court on 16.12.2021.

8. From the study of all the voluminous material, forwarded by the Court itself, the Institution of the President of the Republic, has concluded that some members of the Constitutional Court, from whom mainly the main burden of responsibility falls on the rapporteur of the case, has provided evidence that they have committed some serious professional and ethical violations that affect the position and the image of the judge during the exercise of the mandate, activity that is contrary to the requirements of law no. 8577/2000, which according to the provisions of article 128 of the Constitution and article 10, 10/a of law no. 8577/2000, legitimizes the initiation of a disciplinary proceeding.

9. Without going into details, the violations consist of:

– Violations of the law related to the manner of appointing the rapporteur of the case.

– From the documentation, made available to us by the Court itself, it does not appear that the lot was drawn by procedure for the casual appointment of the rapporteur of the case, thus creating suspicions that either it was the rapporteur who requested this file, or this case was assigned to, without a lottery.

– The law on the organization of the Constitutional Court requires that files be determined through lottery procedures.
– In the file we have available there is no record to document the holding or drawing of lots.
The court file does not contain any document to prove the way the questions of the Constitutional Court were formulated for the Venice Commission?! Nor:
– Who is the authority that decided that the questions of the Association of Albanian Municipalities and the Democratic Conviction Party (Partia Bindja Democratike) were unnecessary, and who decided that these questions should not be forwarded to the Venice Commission ?!

Therefore, this part of the activity of the Constitutional Court is not reflected in any document, which has created the conviction that the Rapporteur of the case, who is responsible for following up and proceeding with a file with the relevant actions, has avoided sending questions and has presented to the Chair of the Court for signature only three questions that have been raised by her.

Referring to the documentation of the court file, it is completely unclear how this happened, and this fact in itself, but not only, significantly violates the principle of transparency of the Constitutional Court, the principle of equality of parties in the trial, and due legal process, and which may require an in-depth disciplinary investigation by the prosecuting authority to reach an objective level of conclusions as to what has been the involvement of other members of the Constitutional Court in these violations.

10. Judges of the Constitutional Court are responsible according to the Constitution and the law and they too are prosecuted disciplinarily.

11. However, we are analyzing this situation in detail, and in the coming days an official position will be held on this issue, but today we are not here for that!

12. Today we are here to announce that we have started the procedures to resolve another issue that the Constitutional Court avoided.

13. Unfortunately, as in June 2019, when we did not have a functioning Constitutional Court, but even today when it functions, the issue of local elections 2019, was not resolved by it.

14. We have an absurd situation for a long time, that some Municipalities in the country are run without a Mayor, thus creating a space for irresponsibility, abuse of public power, and in violation of the services to citizens living in these municipalities.

15. This situation can not be left indefinitely without a solution, despite the fact that many actors may be interested in this status quo, but of course not the citizens.

16. The President of the Republic has nothing to wait for anymore. Because the President awaited the decision of the Constitutional Court and it did not give a decision. Therefore, concluding that these institutions provided by the Constitution (Municipalities without a Mayor), are not functioning properly, or when we further conclude that the parties and actors who have the obligation to resolve this situation, do nothing to set it in motion, although it has been raised as a concern by the media and the citizens, and other civil society actors.

17. That is why, I am here to let you know that, today I have started the procedures to give a solution to this situation.

18. Today through an official letter, sent to the State Election Commissioner, I requested information on the fact that:

– Which specifically are those Local Government Units (Municipalities), in which during this period June 30, 2019 – January 2022, according to the information and assessment, the mandate of the Mayors has ended prematurely?
– What is the legal reason and the act through which the early termination of the mandate was done and for the fulfillment of which it is necessary to organize partial elections for the mayor, in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Code of the Republic of Albania?

19. I look forward to a response as soon as possible from the State Election Commissioner, so that as the President of the Republic, I can continue to move forward for a speedy resolution of this situation in the interest of all citizens of municipalities without mayors.