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Albanian government seeks to impeach President Ilir Meta

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Ilir Meta was elected president for a five-year term as Albania's President in 2017.
Ilir Meta was elected president for a five-year term as Albania's President in 2017.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Hektor Pustina, File
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Albanian MPs have started an impeachment process against the country's president Ilir Meta, who they accuse of violating the constitution during last month's election.

Fifty lawmakers from the governing left-wing Socialist Party asked parliament to launch an investigation into Meta on Monday.

They say that the President "committed actions that run counter to the country's constitution" before, and during April's election campaign.

The Socialists achieved a landslide victory in the vote, securing 74 seats in the 140-seat parliament, enough to form a Cabinet.

Meta had accused Prime Minister Edi Rama's government of running a "kleptocratic regime" and failing to implement an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President also alleged that Rama had concentrated all legislative, administrative, and judiciary powers in his own hands.

But Taulant Balla, the Socialist parliamentary group leader said the party had begun impeachment proceedings over Mila's comments.

Balla said the existing parliament has enough time to form "an investigative commission" before its mandate ends in September.

In response on Facebook, Meta reiterated claims that an investigation should focus on "electoral crimes" rather than "stun grenades". Albania's opposition has previously claimed that the April vote was manipulated.

It is not immediately clear whether the Socialists would be able to secure a two-thirds majority for an impeachment request to pass.

After a vote in Albania's parliament', the final verdict comes from the country's Constitutional Court.

Meta's post in Albania is largely ceremonial, with some powers over the judiciary and the armed forces, but he has frequently clashed with Edi Rama's government.

The 52-year-old President began his political career with the Socialist Party but later left to form the smaller left-wing Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI).

He handed over the leadership of the party to his wife in 2017 to become President but said he will rejoin LSI next year when his term is over.