Albania Parliament to Vote on President's Impeachment June 9

Αssociated Press

FILE - In this Monday, June 10, 2019 file photo, Albanian President Ilir Meta speaks during a news conference in capital Tirana, Albania. Albania’s municipal elections don’t normally provoke much interest beyond the country’s border, but the holding of the vote on Sunday June 30, 2019, or failure to do so, appears decisive for the tiny Western Balkan country in its bid to start full membership negotiations with the European Union. While the Socialist-run government is insisting on holding the election, the opposition is boycotting the vote and says it will stop it taking place. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina, File)

TIRANA, Albania — Albania's parliament on Monday decided to hold an extraordinary session next week on the impeachment of the country's president for allegedly violating the constitution.

The session will be held June 9 following a report by an investigative committee, which last week concluded that President Ilir Meta violated 16 articles of the constitution before Albania's April 25 general election and should be removed from office a year earlier than his term ends.

Earlier this month, 49 governing Socialist lawmakers asked for the investigative committee to decide whether to impeach Meta for failing in his constitutional duty to guarantee national unity by siding with the opposition in the election. The governing Socialist Party ended up winning 74 of parliament's 140 seats. 

A two-thirds majority is required to impeach Meta, and the Socialists don't have the numbers in parliament to meet that threshold. But if lawmakers do vote to remove him from office, the final approval comes from Albania's Constitutional Court within three months.

Meta argues that the outgoing assembly is in a post-election transition period and therefore is ineligible to conduct such investigation activities.

Meta accused Prime Minister Edi Rama of running a "kleptocratic regime" and concentrating all legislative, administrative and judiciary powers in his hands. 

Albania's presidency is largely ceremonial but carries some authority over the judiciary and the armed forces. The role is also generally understood to be apolitical, but Meta has regularly clashed with Rama's government.