By Dr. Francesca Norton
Albania is the only country in Europe with a single party controlling almost every power of the state. Edi Rama, the Albanian premier controls every institution including the institutions of the judiciary that in any democratic country should be independent.
After seizing the entire central and local government, the Assembly, the institutions of justice, his last conquest is the Constitutional Court, in which he is using illegal means to appoint his trusted people as constitutional judges.
This is a coup d’état. A coup without force but by silently and illegally capturing every institution including the judiciary.
The Albanian Assembly is functioning against the provisions of the Constitution. There should be 140 MPs but presently there are only 122, constituting a serious violation. Through this illegal and unconstitutional parliament, Edi Rama, the Albanian PM, is issuing laws to capture the judiciary, investigative and court institutions. The only institutions still in place, which is resisting the majority’s attempts to install a one-party state is the President of the country, Ilir Meta.
Recently, the President said he would sign a decree on March 2, against what he called a government “coup d’etat” being carried out through the justice system. He accused the Albanian government of subverting the constitution and of having links to organized crime.
The President denounced publicly a well organized scheme composed by the PM to capture the Constitutional Court. In this scheme are involved the PM, Edi Rama, the Chairman of Justice Appointment Council, Ardian Dvorani, and the Minister of Justice, Etilda Gjonaj.
President Meta has filed a criminal report on the Chair of JAC, Adrian Dvorani and Minister of Justice Etilda Gjonaj for a serious of criminal offences. According to the Albanian legislature, forgery of documentation, misuse of office, and acquisition of powers of another institution are criminal offences to be sentenced with many years in prison.
The Democratic Party Secretary General, Gazment Bardhi reacted by saying: “The facts made public by the President of the Republic prove, once again, irrefutably, the use of Ardian Dvorani as a mechanism for the political capture of the Constitutional Court by Edi Rama. Criminal manipulation of facts and concealment of data is a serious state crime. The capture of the Constitutional Court is vital to Edi Rama. It is the only way to pave the way for his projects on total criminalization of the state, co-government with oligarchs and organized crime, as well as having political control over any independent power and institution.”
The situation in the justice system is a mess. Three years ago Albania underwent a judicial reform that resulted in a total catastrophe. 200 million USD were invested from the US and EU taxpayers money to reform the Albanian justice system, but everything went wrong and corruptive affairs might have been involved. Presently Albania has not a functional Constitutional Court and no High Court. The number of files pending to be reviewed reach 35,000, which means it will take 30 years to process.
Some internationals, involved in the justice reform and hiding in the shadows of the Rama lobby organizations, are being silent of this big scandal, fearing investigation from their country or the institutions they represent, therefore pushing impatiently the EU for the opening of the negotiations of Albania with EU, hoping that the justice reform misuse of financing and a chaotic implementation be forgotten under the shadow of the accession of the negotiations.
US and EU institutions need to investigate on how this reform was implemented and who profited from the American and European taxpayers money.
The capture of the justice system seems to be a deliberate plan by Edi Rama and the governing majority. A plan with the purpose of capturing the entire Albanian state.
The civil society, analysts and international actors seemed very concerned on such a situation. The German political expert Martin Henze published a chart illustrating how Edi Rama is installing a one-party state, a coup d’état at the heart of Europe, in a country aspiring to join the EU.
According to the chart, Edi Rama has placed all his faithful and party related people as heads of justice institutions. The chair of High Prosecution Office is Gent Ibrahimi, the brother in law of Mimi Kodheli, a former minister of Edi Rama, MP, and chair of Foreign Committee at the Assembly. The chair of High Justice Council is Naureda Llagmani, a militant of Edi Rama’s Socialist Party. The High Justice Inspector is Artur Metani, brother of the Socialist Party MP, Eglantina Gjermeni.
Determined to protect the Constitution and the independence of the Constitutional Court, President Ilir Meta returned many laws to be reviewed in the Assembly but facing such an obstacle Premier Rama passed a law which in violation of the Constitution ensures that the swearing in of the Constitutional Judges be made by letter not in the President’s office required by the Constitution. Placing a law above the Constitution is a grave violation, therefore the President is appealing continuously to all the Albanian people and every actor in the country and abroad to defend the Constitution and stop this coup d’état.
The situations with the Constitutional Court of Albania is turning into a ridicule. Rama is trying to seize at any cost the Constitutional Court that one of his trusted candidates, Ms. Arta Vorpsi was sworn in at a Public Notary without the decree of the President of the Republic. This shows that the foundations of the Albanian state are indeed destroyed.
Albania is controlled by organized crime and it is serving as haven for money laundry. According to Transparency International Albania is ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Its position worsened dramatically since Edi Rama’s party came to power seven years ago. The seizure of the Constitutional Court is vital for Rama in order for his to escape prison and secure all his corruptive affairs.
While Rama attempts to fully usurp the judiciary, the President of Albania is holding fast and strong in defending the Constitution.
“I am the last fortress in defending the Constitution of Albania” said Meta in a press conference. “I will not give up, until all institutions of the Albanian state are returned to the Albanian people.”
Albania is at a crossroad. The battle for the Constitutional Court is essential for the future of the country. In the following weeks Albania will end up either a one-party state or a country filled with hope.