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Albanian President Ilir Meta says impeachment investigation is "illegal"

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President Ilir Meta has said  he will rejoin Albanian politics when his presidency ends in 2022.
President Ilir Meta has said he will rejoin Albanian politics when his presidency ends in 2022.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Hektor Pustina

Albania's president has refused to appear before a parliamentary committee that is investigating whether he should be impeached.

Lawmakers have this month begun proceedings against President Ilir Meta, who they accuse of violating the country's constitution.

But President Meta sent a 28-page document to parliament in which he said the investigative committee lacked legitimacy.

Meta added that he would continue performing his duties while "ignoring any request coming from an anti-constitutional and illegal institution".

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

They have claimed that the President failed in his constitutional duty to guarantee national unity by siding with the opposition before the April 25 parliamentary election.

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

Meta has argued that because the parliament elected last month has not convened, the outgoing assembly is ineligible to conduct such investigation activities during a transition period.

"Initiatives in such forms are unacceptable for democratic societies,'' wrote Meta, who is in Slovenia following a regional summit.

The President has previously criticised Prime Minister Edi Rama's government of failing in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Socialists would require a two-thirds majority and approval from Albania's Constitutional Court if they are to impeach Meta, whose presidential term is scheduled to end in July 2022.