20 March 2019 Statement of President Meta regarding the political situation in Albania, made in Pogradec
Question: Mr. President, you have repeatedly stated that the country is undergoing a constitutional and representation crisis. When you say so, what do you have in mind Mr. President?
President Meta: I should emphasize that the constitutional and institutional crisis is not a new one. I believe to have provided even before the reasons and arguments, on why we face such a situation where not only we do not have a Constitutional Court and almost the entire judicial system is paralyzed, but at the same time the efforts or even the initiatives, the interest expressed in particular by the President to prevent the creation of this crisis by certain actors have been undermined. Therefore there is a crisis that, in my judgement and assessment, is a deliberate one, and which has jeopardized the constitutional order in the Republic of Albania and in the same way, not only endangered all the democratic guarantees, but also the rights of citizens and those of certain groups of interest.
Now the crisis has been deepened and is further aggravated by the unprecedented action taken by the Albanian opposition, which is an inadmissible and punishable act according to me, which has seriously deepened the crisis of representation of the Albanian Parliament as the main representative institution of the Republic of Albania and Albanian citizens.
In my institutional assessment and conviction, the Assembly of Albania contains 82 lawful Parliamentary Members, including the 3 opposition Parliamentary Members who refused to give up their mandates according to the political decision of their respective political parties.
Any other number of Parliamentary Members beyond this sum, not only further deepens this crisis, but it certainly does not help overcoming this situation as any other number is disputable on all levels. Both in the constitutional level, in the legal, procedural and political and moral levels as well, and moreover and absolutely in our country, as a entirely pro-European one, one million citizens who have turned the required legal age to be Parliamentary Members and who are not afraid to complete and hand over the decriminalization form, can be invited to cast their votes in the parliament about the laws necessary for our European integration reforms, but this should assure all those that it does not hide this deep crisis of representation, and at the same time, it does not guarantee, rather it undermines, the opening of negotiations between Albania and the European Union.
There cannot be any solution to this crisis, either by ultimatum or through rhetoric that incite violent actions, either by using police methods or by any financial means, but it can be resolved only through a rapid, serious and accountable political dialogue that guarantees the restoration of the political life into normality, by upholding the Constitution, by respecting the separation of the branches of powers, and upholding all the commitments that Albania needs to urgently meet and fulfill for the opening of the accession negotiations in the near future.
Any day that this dialogue is postponed, any more day that there is no effort by either party involved, the crisis, on the contrary, not only would not be overcome, but it would escalate, and can produce unforeseeable consequences that are unacceptable to Albanian citizens, after thirty years of experience.
Question: Under such circumstances Mr. President, what is your role, standing apart an above the parties? Are you ready gather and sit down all the parties to conduct a dialogue?
President Meta: I would to assure you and all Albanian citizens that President Ilir Meta, ever since the very first day until the present one, has made every effort to prevent this crisis, which has many dimensions. These have been documented and I would not like to take any more of yours and Albanian citizens’ time for what I did in order to prevent this situation and to deliver the message to the European Union stressing that we are a country which share all together this common national project, both the ruling majority and the opposition.
That we are capable and prepared to open negotiations.
That we are able to elect a ruling majority and opposition as common chief negotiators and that Albania possesses and counts upon many of such politicians, equipped with integrity, professionalism and international reputation as well.
That we can work together to fulfill and meet the five key priorities, and although we may be divided about many other issues, we can cooperate by upholding and respecting the rules of democracy.
All these efforts made up to the present, have unfortunately failed, not due to my efforts and accountability, but for the fact that certain actors did not want to take on their responsibilities and this way, we reached this point.
It is not significant what we have done and accomplished so far, because we can explain all that. What’s important is what we will do.
Question: Should the political forces make a sacrifice, Mr. President?
President Meta: What can I tell to you is that Mr. Rama, as the leader of the ruling majority in Parliament, which I can also say to Mr. Basha as the leader of the opposition, but also to all the Albanian Socialists, Democrats or non-political party affiliated citizens who have concern about the stability of the country and would like to enjoy security and just not only these; they want the opening of negotiations, they aim an strive to move forward towards European Union membership is this: that the President Ilir Meta is very conscious about the roots of this crisis. I have warned the local and international actors long ago that this situation might move towards unpredictable developments.
It is important to avoid any escalation of this crisis that may lead to possible confrontations, which we have seen and experienced in the past and that have seriously affected the interests of our country; that have gravely harmed the lives, the rights and the property of citizens and also delayed the integration processes of Albania.
For these purposes, I call upon and invite all not to sacrifice the country for their seats, positions or for their own ambitions.
In this regard, although I bare no responsibility for this current situation that has been created, even though I have made every possible effort for almost two years in this post to prevent such a situation and crisis, again I am ready to sacrifice myself for the sake of a political solution that would re-establish the constitutional, institutional, political and democratic normality in our country and which would guarantee the rapid progress towards the opening of European Union accession negotiations. I am mostly ready for the two extremes that would take place.
Starting from giving up my mandate as the President of the Republic, right after I would have been assured that the country would enjoy a principled, constitutional, and a solid political solution that would move it forward, all the way to sacrificing my life, the same as Salvador Allende once did, in order to prevent the installation of a junta that could sent Albania thirty years back.
Hereby, Ilir Meta is prepared and is ready and willing to choose each and every one of both ways because, he has never endangered and cannot accept to risk for his current post or for his personal ambitions, neither Albania and nor the democracy in Albania.
I will stick and remain faithful to the oath I took that faced with a choice between the power and the democracy, I will always stand by the side of democracy, because only democracy alone guarantees a power for the Albanian people in order to stop and prevent the depopulation of Albania.