Nearly All of Albania's Parliament Votes in Favor of Impeaching President Ilir Meta

Albanian President Ilir Meta was impeached on Wednesday for violating the constitution, the Associated Press reported.

The Albanian Parliament voted to impeach Meta with a vote of 104-7, with three abstaining. Albania's constitutional court will give the final approval within three months.

Meta was investigated for violating the constitution with his bias against the ruling Socialist Party during the April 25 parliamentary electoral campaign. The report said Meta violated up to 16 articles and instigated violence.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Ilir Meta Interview in Tirana
Albanian President Ilir Meta was impeached on Wednesday for violating the constitution. Above, Meta speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Tirana, Albania, on April 21, 2021. Hektor Pustina/Associated Press

"Ilir Meta has betrayed the mission of the president of...Albania," Prime Minister Edi Rama said in his speech before the vote. "Ilir Meta has humiliated the constitution."

Meta has denounced the investigation and impeachment attempt, arguing they are illegal.

There was no reaction from Meta during the debate or after the vote. During the parliamentary debate Meta continued his daily agenda, awarding a medal to a folk music ensemble.

In late April, 49 governing Socialist lawmakers asked for the investigative committee. They accuse Meta, a former Socialist prime minister who left the party many years ago, of inciting instability and violence in the Balkan nation and siding with the political opposition ahead of the election. They say Meta should be impeached for failing in his constitutional duty to guarantee national unity.

The governing Socialist Party ended up winning 74 of parliament's 140 seats in the April 25 election, winning their third four-year term.

"President of the Republic's acts, behavior and counter to his constitutional role and position," said the report. It said Meta should be "removed from the post of the President of the Republic for grave violation (of the constitution)."

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 Prime Minister Edi Rama's Socialist government.

Since assuming the office of president in 2017 with the support of the ruling Socialists, Meta has opposed their agenda, blocking the nominations of ministers and vetoing legislation.

Meta has accused Rama of running a "kleptocratic regime" and concentrating all legislative, administrative and judiciary powers in his hands.

Meta argues that the outgoing assembly is in a post-election transition period and therefore is ineligible to conduct such investigation activities. The parliament elected in April is not formally seated until September.

Ilir Meta EU Enlargement Meeting
Albanian President Ilir Meta was impeached on Wednesday for violating the constitution. Above, Meta arrives prior to the start of the Brdo-Brijuni Process meeting in Brdo pri Kranju on May 17, 2021. The meeting is designed to reaffirm commitment to EU enlargement. Jure Makovec/Getty Images