Constitutional Court sends questions to Venice Commission on legitimacy of the local elections

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The Constitutional Court has published the questions that will be sent to the Venice Commission regarding the challenged legitimacy of the local elections that took place in Albania on June 30th 2019.

The three questions revolve around these main aspects: Whether or not the Court can decide upon the constitutionality of the elections; Which constitutional principle prevails: Periodicity of the elections or political pluralism? And lastly, whether or not the behavior of the authorities and political parties has violated the right of voters to have a meaningful chance to choose?

The legitimacy of the local elections that were held without the participation of the oppositions resulted in a socialist majority in the lead of all municipalities nationwide.

The case was initially brought to court by the Association of Albanian Municipalities, led by the mayor of Shkodra, Voltana Ademic, who submitted a request asking for the nullification of the electoral results.

The Constitutional Court responded by saying that the questioned legitimacy of these elections, is a unique unprecedented case in the Albanian justice system, that requires a more specialized opinion, which is why it decided to suspend all proceedings and request a consultation with the Venice Commission, in regards to the standards and principles that need to be taken into consideration regarding the case in question.

Question no. 1: Shall article 131, point 1, letter ‘e’ of the Constitution be interpreted as the Constitutional Court having the jurisdiction to decide on the constitutionality of the election process?

Question no. 2: Given that the principles of periodicity of the local elections and political pluralism are provided as fundamental constitutional principles, what would be the interrelation between them in a situation where there is a risk of violation of each of these principles? Which one could prevail over the other?

Question no. 3: In a situation of legal uncertainty, did the actions of public authorities and political parties violate the voters’ right to have meaningful choice? Should they have ensured voters’ highest interest?

The Venice Commission is expected to publish their opinions on the constitutionality of the June 30th elections, by October 2021.

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