Albanian president turns down electoral college decision on local elections

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-26 02:05:50|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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TIRANA, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Albanian President Ilir Meta turned down on Tuesday the decision taken by the Electoral College in favor of holding local election on June 30 and urged the ruling Socialist majority to step back and reflect on the political situation of the country.

At a press conference, Meta told reporters that his decree on municipal elections cancellation is still in force and elections cannot be held.

"This decree is obligatory to everyone. Only the Constitutional Court can turn it down, no other court or institution," Meta said.

The Constitutional Court in Albania is out of function for about a year. Most of the court's judges have been dismissed due to the justice reform that is being implemented in the country.

Speaking to reporters, Meta urged the ruling Socialists to hold talks and not carry out an "imaginary" voting process.

According to the president, the full membership negotiations with the European Union (EU) will not start if Albania holds elections without the participation of the opposition, which have decided to boycott them.

The Electoral College in Albania voted on Monday in favor of holding local elections in Albania on June 30, rejecting the decree of the president who decided to cancel election date.

Meta told reporters that the Electoral College was influenced by "political pressure and blackmail."

Meta made it clear that only the president can decree the elections date in Albania, adding that he waits for the majority to reflect and the Albanian politicians to discuss the deep political crisis in the country.

Meanwhile, the main Albanian opposition Democratic Party declared Monday that it does not recognize the Electoral College's decision because a presidential decree can be judged only by the Constitutional Court.

Moreover, the opposition has declared that they will prevent Sunday's vote from being held. Last week, opposition supporters damaged ballot boxes and other election documentation to prevent the voting preparations in some Albanian cities ruled by the opposition, causing clashes with the state police forces.

On the other side, the ruling Socialist majority and Prime Minister Edi Rama insisted the elections will go ahead as scheduled.

According to the Socialists, the main objective of the opposition is to damage the country's efforts to launch EU membership negotiations.

The opposition in Albania has been holding protests, some turned violent, since mid-February, after their lawmakers decided to resign from the Parliament seats, and accused the government of being corrupt and related to organized crime.