IBNA Special Report
Tirana, December 10, 2014/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Edison Kurani
The President of Albania decreed these days the new governor of the Bank of Albania. He’s Gent Sejko (photo), a former official of the Bank of Albania and then, head of several private banks in Albania.
The president’s decree came a few days after parliament made, upon the incentive of the majority, several legal changes that aimed at lifting restrictions for non Albanian nationals to be appointed governor of the Bank of Albania.
PM Edi Rama has declared in several occasions that the government prefers a foreign official as head of the Bank of Albania. But the head of the state put an end to these plans by decreeing Gent Sejko.
Reactions from the majority are skeptic. The head of the government has not had his say. He has even hesitated to make any comments, while the speaker of parliament has been cautious. But, senior officials of the Socialist Party that he leads, say that they may vote against the name proposed by the president.
Meta: We’re waiting on the hearing
Speaker of parliament, Ilir Meta, who is the head of SMI, the second political force of the majority, says that there’s no any final positioning yet on Sejko. “We’re discussing the president’s decree and after the candidate for governor is heard at the parliamentary committee of economy and finance, perhaps we will have a clearer positioning. Of course, we will be coordinating with the Socialist Party”.
Meta says that “it’s important for the issue of the governor to be solved as soon as possible, in a consensual way and in a way that it strengthens the independence of this institution”.
Majko: Albanians abroad cannot be left out
Former prime minister and current socialist MP, Pandeli Majko says that the decision of the president was unexpected. “The president of the Republic doesn’t have a normal communication with the leaders of the majority”.
Majko said that one third of Albanians live abroad, therefore according to him, they cannot be left out, just because they have no Albanian citizenship.
“It’s a good idea for Albania to open its doors for higher positions in its institutions to a generation of emigrants, who have studied and lived abroad. We must understand that 1/3 of Albanians left the borders of the country for different reasons after the ‘90s. I believe that there must be an ongoing reflection. I believe that the president should have been more understanding in all of this open process for the Bank of Albania, in order for this important institution not to sustain any other shock in the future”.
Brace: The procedure must be investigated
The head of the parliamentary economic committee, Erjon Brace, says that it will be the chairmen conference that will decide about the introduction of the decree of the president on the governor in the order of the day. Brace says that an investigation will be demanded from the law committee in order to examine the consistency of the decree with the law. He insists that the governor must be one of the members of the Oversight Committee of the Bank of Albania.
“As far as the issue of the Bank of Albania is concerned, there’s a very big legal problem, which relates to the right of the proposal of the members of the Oversight Committee of the bank of Albania. The law is clear. Five members are proposed by parliament, three by the government and one by the Oversight Committee of the Bank of Albania. No other institution can be engaged by law to elect the members of the Oversight Committee. The Governor of the Bank of Albania must be a member of the Oversight Committee. Thus, we’re stuck at this legal moment which must be solved by other institutions of the parliament of Albania”, says Erjon Brace, head of the parliamentary economy committee.
Rama and the experts clarify the procedure
Experts say that the law that Mr. Brace refers to only determines the way the members of the Oversight Committee are elected. The law also says that the governor is the head of the Oversight Committee.
But, the procedure for the election of the governor is enshrined in the Constitution and not in this law.
Article 161 of the Constitution says: “Bank of Albania is governed by a Committee, which is led by the Governor. The Governor is elected by parliament upon the proposal of the President of the Republic for seven years, subject to renewal”.
Thus, the Constitution exclusively entitles the president of the Republic to propose the governor.
What Brace doesn’t seem to be very clear about, PM Rama is fully convinced that the powers belong to the president and parliament is entitled to vote: “Of course, the proposal is made by the president, but what I have asked to the president is to consider the candidature of a foreign Governor”.
The Socialist party parliamentary group has held an informal meeting and sources inform that the meeting also discussed about the governor proposed by Nishani.
Bushati: There must be a name that promotes the economy
In line with the desire expressed by Rama, the socialist MP, Ervin Bushati said after the meeting that the issue of the governor must be treated with more vision, which led to believe that socialist MPs do not want Sejko: “The new governor must have a wider background in economy and perhaps in the domain of macro-economic and monetary policies, which may help the economy. We cannot limit things to the bank. He’s an honored professor and I believe that in these moments, Albania, like the rest of the world, is looking for figures that promote the economy and interact with markets, seeing beyond conventional ways, such as the control of interest rates by the Central Bank to stimulate the economy”. /ibna/