Ilir Meta: Constitutional court overturns impeachment of Albania's president

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By AP  with Euronews
Ilir Meta has served as Albania's President since 2017.
Ilir Meta has served as Albania's President since 2017.   -  Copyright  AP Photo/Ronald Zak, File

Albania’s Constitutional Court has overturned parliament’s impeachment of President Ilir Meta.

The court said on Wednesday the evidence against Meta did not amount to “a grave violation" of the country's constitution.

A total of 104 Albanian MPs had voted in favour of discharging the president last June.

The 52-year-old had been accused of inciting bias and violence against the ruling Socialist party ahead of April's parliamentary election.

A parliamentary investigation accused him of violating 16 articles of the constitution.

But Albania's highest court said there was no legal threshold for discharging Meta, and allowed him to remain in office. The decision is final and cannot be appealed.

Meta -- whose current term ends in July -- had denounced the investigation and argued that the move to impeach him was illegal.

The Albanian president had refused to attend the court hearing, telling Euronews Albania that he "does not trust" their authority.

Meta's lawyers had argued that the Socialist government did not have the power to call the investigation into his conduct because they had not yet convened after the 2021 election.

“ZERO SURPRISE for the president’s office! This issue should not have started!” Meta’s spokesman, Tedi Blushi, wrote on Facebook after the court verdict.

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 the country's government by blocking ministerial nominees and vetoing legislation.

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