Tirana, September 10, 2013
A debate has sparked in Albania if the incoming government of the left wing majority must undergo or not verification by investigative authorities and special state authorities such as State Informative Service.
President of Republic, Bujar Nishani, who was voted by the former right wing majority which today’s in opposition, has declared that he will immediately decree the new Prime Minister, but not the new ministers, for which he said that time is needed for verification.
Mr. Nishani said that he will not wait for the 7 day deadline to nominate Mr. Edi Rama as the new Prime Minister. “Several personalities which are active in politics have been verified”, says Nishani.
Meanwhile, once the new Prime Minister is decreed, Mr. Rama can present the list of ministers to be decreed again by the President of Republic, who will then take their oath in parliament before assuming their duty.
To decree the new government, the deadline for the president is 10 days. Mr. Nishani says that institutions help the President of Republic to verify the integrity and legitimacy of proposals that come from the majority for the names of the new government.
The new ministers will be decreed one by one, which means that if the verification results to be problematic for one or some of the names, the decree may not be issued.
If a specialized service such as State Informative Service would discover that one of the ministers has had ties with the former secret services of the communist regime, what would be the stance of the President? Would he refuse to decree?
Mr. Nishani doesn’t issue an accurate answer, but an evasive one to that question. “I cannot prejudge any steps as President of Republic, but certainly, I will strictly respect the Constitution and laws of the country and this is my responsibility”.
But the MP of the Socialist Party, Erion Brace begs to differ. He’s one of the most renowned names of the new majority and says that the verification that Mr. Nishani wants to make to the new ministers is not legitimate.
“There are no articles in the constitution which require the verification of ministers by the head of the state”, says Brace.
Nonetheless, the law requires the verification of the high ranking officials before they start their term in office, clarifying that a person with criminal convictions is not desirable for state functions.
This is also confirmed by Mr. Brace when he says that “every individual is presumed innocent until the contrary is proved by the court”. He says that “in my knowledge, none of the ministers results to be indicted or convicted for serious criminal offenses, organized crime, trafficking, corruption or murder”.
Politically commenting on the steps of Mr. Nishani, the socialist MP says that: “What the President of Republic is trying to do is aggression against the new majority, an anti-constitutional aggression, illegal and with clear political objectives”.
According to the socialist MP, “The President of Republic has been part of this departing government and as a president, he behaves like a complementary minister. He must realize once and for all that on June 23, Albanians defeated even him”.
Debates on the verification of ministers come a few days after acting Prime Minister, Sali Berisha published the list of four ministers who according to him, have problems with the law.
Mr. Berisha mentioned the new Minister of Finance, Shkëlqim Cani, former Governor of the Bank of Albania, accusing him of stealing the State Treasury which was administered by the Bank of Albania.
The new Minister of Health, Ilir Beqja was mentioned by Mr. Berisha as a person who is being tried for forgery of documents and for illegally benefiting thousands of pension schemes.
For the new Minister of Interior, Saimir Tahiri, the Prime Minister has declared that his parents are being tried for financial abuses. “His father was arrested for contraband of medicines while his mother is facing trial for tax evasion amounting to 80 thousand Euros”, said Mr. Berisha.
Acting Prime Minister has also mentioned the name of Arben Ahmetaj, new Minister of Economy. According to Berisha, this minister is being tried for a theft amounting to 10 million Euros against telephone company Albtelekom, when it was state owned, a theft, which according to Prime Minister Berisha, was carried out through his private company, Hermes.
An accusation for abuse has also been launched for the new Minister of Social Welfare, Erion Veliaj, for which Prime Minister Berisha has declared that he has stolen funds from NGOs.
The four ministers have not publicly reacted against these accusations, but officially, the Socialist Party has denied them by declaring that they are mere lies uttered by Prime Minister Berisha. /ibna/