The Constitutional Court is currently dealing with a series of important matters for the political scene in Albania. One of them is the recognition or lack thereof, of the local elections that took place on June 30th, in our country.
The judgment is expected to be made on June 23rd, almost one year after the elections that were held without the participation of the opposition.
The decision could create an entirely new situation for Albanian politics only a few weeks after the general parliamentary elections of April 25th.
Discussing this issue on Euronews Albania’s ‘Ilva Now’ was the panel made up of renowned jurist and former Minister of Justice, Ylli Manjani, communication expert Edlira Gjoni, journalist Fatjona Mejdini and analyst Redi Shehu.
Redi Shehu: The verdict of the Constitutional Court will be “politically prejudiced” by the party in power
Analyst Redi Shehu, opened up the debate by arguing that the verdict of the Constitutional Court regarding the validity of the local elections of June 30th 2019 will be a “politically prejudiced” verdict.
According to him, this reality comes as a result of the verdict being post factum and it also being affected by several circumstances, which could lead to possible interventions being undertaken by the dominant powers.
“The Constitutional Court can determine the validity or invalidity of the elections. It can determine whether or not elections could be held without preset dates and whether or not the President can postpone that date, but another problem too is if the President does away with his normal functions. He goes crazy or has a conflict of interest,” stated Shehu.
The analyst referred to the political situation that has accompanied the very foundation of the Constitutional Court after the discharge of its previous members. Shehu stated that the new member appointments were accompanied by a strong political backlash as well as an unprecedented event like the “burning” or relinquishing of mandates by the opposition’s members of parliament, which also resulted in them not taking part in the local elections.
This is why, according to Shehu the verdict of the Constitutional Court, expected to be made on June 23rd will be influenced by the dominant group that formed this institution in the first place, referring to the current ruling party.
The legitimacy of the local election, Mejdini: Whichever the decision of the Constitutional Court, a chapter will be closed
The Constitutional Court has the power of addressing the issue of the legitimacy of the local elections, which took place on June 30th, 2019.
Journalist Fatjona Mejdini told journalist Ilva Tare that the verdict of the Constitutional Court, whichever it may be, will bring about a positive development in our country as it will finally be able to close a chapter of the past.
Mejdini brought to the attention the fact that these elections were the result of an added condition for Albania by Bundestag, which was the determination of the legitimacy of these local elections. This is why according to her, it is absolutely necessary that we set a precedent.
“No matter if the Constitutional Court invalidates the elections or not, we will have a determined legitimacy for our local elections and a chapter will finally be closed through this verdict. It is an interesting case because we have the Association of Albanian Municipalities making the appeal.
Manjani raises the two questions needing an answer by the Constitutional Court
The former minister of Justice, Ylli Manjani started his argument by speaking about two main questions, which according to him, need to be given an answer by the Constitutional Court.
“There are two fundamental questions the Constitutional Court needs to deal with. The first: Can or can not the elections be held without a set date, in the formal understanding of the word? And, secondly: Can the President of the Republic change the date of the elections, even if it is done in the name of public interest. These are the two questions that the Constitutional Court needs to answer on June 23rd,” he said.
Manjani emphasized that this case has many interpretations while adding that if the Court comes to the conclusion that the elections cannot be held without a preset date, it has to then proclaim the invalidity of the local elections.
“If the Court comes to the conclusion that elections cannot be held without a date predetermined by a decree that is in force, it has to then recognize the invalidity of the elections,” added Manjani.
In addition, Manjani emphasized that a verdict is considered valid by the Constitutional Court only when the case gets minimally 5 votes in favor.
“In order for a verdict to be considered valid, there need to be 5 members voting in favor of an alternative, this is essentially the law. This is why there are 9 members, the majority, meaning at least 5 need to vote in favor,” stated Manjani.
After the electoral process of 2019, the mayor of Shkodra, Voltana Ademi, in the name of all municipalities of Albania, an association led by her as well, decided to bring this case to the Constitutional Court, by asking for the invalidation or the repetition of the local elections.