President’s Office: Decree is binding, CEC must implement it

President of the Republic Ilir Meta posted the following on Facebook as the Parliament was holding the debate on his decree aimed at canceling the election date: “Albania needs utmost reflection and responsibility on the part of its political stakeholders. We must not lose this historic chance to take a step forward towards Europe. We must do our utmost to not be detached from the progress of our neighboring country – North Macedonia. The launching of the accession negotiations is a historic obligation towards those who want a European Albania.”

President’s legal advisor Bledar Dervishaj and spokesperson Tedi Blushi held a press conference in the afternoon, arguing that the resolution passed by the Parliament did not serve the solution of the present political crisis or the preservation of social peace in the country. According to them, the decree canceling the local government elections’ date was fully based on the Albanian Constitution and was currently in power and binding for all. They also said that the presidential decree could only be repealed by the Constitutional Court and that the Central Election Commission was required to enforce it.

They said that the holding of the local government elections in another date, after 30 June 2019, did not undermine the interests of Albanian citizens, nor did it deprive them of the services offered them by the local government units. They added that the President of Republic would soon decree a new date on the local government elections. Speaking from Librazhd and Përrenjas where he was holding electoral campaign events, Prime Minister Edi Rama called on the President to read the resolution approved by the Albanian Assembly, to reflect on the same and his past actions, and to stop making matters worse.

In related news, President Meta has met with the Chairs of Zgjidhja (Solution) Party and Party for Justice, Integration and Unity, Koço Kokëdhima (Thursday) and Shpëtim Idrizi (Tuesday) as part of his efforts to appoint a new date for the local government elections. As reported by newspapers, Kokëdhima and Idrizi told Meta that they supported his presidential decree, and called for a national pact to solve the present problems of Albanian elections and institutions. In addition, the President met with U.S. Embassy’s Charge d’Affaires a.i. Leyla Moses-Ones.