Albania premier accuses president of violating constitution

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania’s prime minister on Tuesday accused the country’s president of violating the constitution by refusing to appoint a new interior minister.

Edi Rama was speaking at an extraordinary parliamentary session convened to discharge the former interior minister, who resigned 10 days ago.

Rama said President Ilir Meta created an “unprecedented situation” when he refused to appoint the new nominee Sander Lleshi, a former army general. Meta said he was not fully convinced but gave no reasons.

“The crisis is neither personal nor political one. The crisis is constitutional,” said Rama.

It was the first time in post-communist Albania, a parliamentary republic, when a president has refused to sign a nomination decree for a Cabinet minister.

Meta was elected as president last year with the support of Rama’s governing Socialist Party.

Meta said on Monday he “would not allow any challenging effort to the authority of his institution.”

Fighting organized crime, drug trafficking and corruption are top priorities for Albania, which is seeking to launch full membership negotiations with the European Union next year.

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