Everyone is rushing to enter into discussions about the legal consequences arising as a result of the non-enforcement of Ilir Meta’s decree to annul the local elections. However, in order to get a more insightful view of the current situation, it is of crucial importance to also conduct a careful evaluation of the consequences that may arise if we were to enforce the President’s decision.
Firstly, it would establish a dangerous precedent where every major political party -usually from the opposition- that claims it does not want to contend in elections, shall oblige the President to abide to its wishes and suspend the elections until further reflections from the leadership of that particular party.
Secondly, if we are to accept that when a President annuls the elections decree (such competence does not exist in any legal jurisdiction in Europe), the current elected officials who are waiting to be replaced can continue to stay in power, then we find ourselves in a situation where a ruling majority, for example Edi Rama’s, may refuse to contend in the 2021 elections simply because he does not want to, and the President would be obliged to annul the elections decree, resulting in Edi Rama staying indefinitely as PM until otherwise convinced.
Thirdly, if we are to accept that the threat of civil conflict shall constitute a reason for democracy to kneel before lawlessness, then we shall establish a precedent that in a democracy, violence triumphs over the rule of law. This would lead to the end of a normal democratic system.
Fourthly, if we are to accept that the President may issue legal acts for matters over which he has neither competence or jurisdiction, we may find ourselves in a new political reality where the president can make appointments, establish or merge institutions by giving political arguments for legal actions, such as the ones we heard today on the supposed annulment of the elections. If we are to accept this, we must not be surprised tomorrow when he may call up the Director General of the Police or Customs and dismiss them simply because he does not like them.
Fifthly, if the Central Elections Committee would not have disregarded Meta’s void act which he calls a ‘decree’, then they would be in serious breach of article 111 of the Code of Administrative Procedures, which states that officials shall be penalised if they fail to observe a void and unenforceable administrative act. This means the CEC officials would be legally penalised if they remained silent about Ilir Meta’s act and not if they reject it, as they did.
Sixthly, under the conditions where the President knowingly violates the Constitution for personal political gain, his/her non impeachment renders every MP guilty as they would become accomplices to a widely known constitutional breach. In this regard, it is the moral and legal duty of every MP to initiate the procedures to impeach President Meta as a means to protect the country’s constitutional order.
Seventhly, the temporary absence of the Constitutional Court is being deliberately and cynically misused.
In all of his statements, Ilir Meta has cynically expressed that the lack of a Constitutional Court is as a result of the government actions, thus insinuating that he can do whatever he pleases without them being able to impeach and dismiss him. This was the case when he refused to decree Rama’s ministers or even when he decided to not open the calls for application in crucial judicial positions. But if the majority was also to move forward with this logic and carry out irresponsible acts in absence of the Constitutional Courts, where would Ilir Meta complain to if the police forced him out of his office without even allowing him enough time to commit ‘suicide’, like in his recent quotes of President Allende?
There are obviously many other side effects that would ruin the democratic system, if we are to accept that a president, with clearly apparent political goals, deprives 2 million people of exercising their right to vote, in wait for a better bargain for himself. However, the ones outlined above would suffice to understand that if we are to accept Ilir Meta’s lunacies, we would head into an anarchic spiral from which it would be extremely difficult to get out of.
Therefore, it would be better if the majority engages into a legal battle with a President which seeks to send the country into conflict today, than clean up tomorrows Albania from the ruins of a power struggle that shall see no end in sight.