IBNA Interview with former head of the Albanian Central Election Commission, Ilirian Celibashi

IBNA Interview with former head of the Albanian Central Election Commission, Ilirian Celibashi

In this interview for IBNA, former chairman of the Central Election Commission, Ilirian Celibashi comments the opposition’s protest to give up its parliamentary mandates. He says that if the opposition refuses to replace its MPs, then parliament can function with 70+1 MPs

Mr. Celibashi, how will parliament work now that the Democratic Party has declared that it will give up its mandates?

We need to see when this becomes official, because I don’t really know what they will do. This is just a public statement, however, I don’t know what they mean by this.

What does the law foresee at the moment that they give up their mandates?

They will file their request to resign as MPs. On its part, parliament needs to inform the Central Election Commission within a period of 30 days and CEC decides to replace them with other candidates on the list.

Let’s focus a little bit on this. If the other candidates refuse to replace the current ones, are there restrictions for other parties to fill these vacancies?

If I’m not mistaken, right wing parties did not participate in the last parliamentary elections as a united coalition. Each of these parties raced under the Democratic Party’s logo.

What happens in a situation when none of them accepts the mandates?

Then those parliamentary seats remain empty.

And they cannot be filled by other parties which have participated in the 2017 elections? Left wing parties for instance?

No, no.

So parliament will only have majority MPs?

Yes, because if you’re in a coalition, then you take the mandate belonging to that party which does not nominate any candidates and the mandate cannot go to another coalition. So, the mandate cannot go to the left wing, it needs to remain within the right wing. And if none of them accept it, these parliamentary seats will remain empty.

Can parliament function like this?

In theory, yes. Legally and constitutionally, yes. 70+1 MPs are more than enough for parliament to function. Whether this is a good thing or not, this is another matter altogether. But from a legal point of view, there are no problems.