Albanian President Ilir Meta on Thursday invited Prime Minister Edi Rama to dialogue over the political crisis, suggestting holding local elections on Oct. 13 after the June 30 elections which he did not recognize.
Meta made the statement after attending an activity on Blood Donation Initiative in Xhafzotaj, Durres district, western Albania.
According to Meta, Albania will fail its “autumn test” (October 17-18) to get a positive answer on starting negotiations for the European Union (EU) integration, if the Albanian leaders do not find a way to “overcome the crisis”.
“It is necessary to be responsible to the Albanians, starting from me as the President, but also from Mr. Rama as the Head of the government and of the current ruling majority, and of course from Lulzim Basha as the opposition leader, because if we do not organize comprehensive local elections, and at the same time if we do not find a formula to overcome the crisis, then we will fail in the “autumn test,” Meta said.
Meta told reporters that he is ready to change October 13 as the local elections date in case the PM does not like it.
“I am flexible to review October 13 as the date for local elections, and I welcome all proposals before this day. I have been waiting for so long with patience, hoping to reach a responsible solution. Otherwise this crisis will continue to escalate and no one should think that it will come out with zero costs,” Meta added.
According to Meta, Albania can start membership negotiation with EU only through fulfilling international and European standards.
The Albanian president does not recognize the local election held in Albania on June 30.
On June 10, through a presidential decree, Meta decided to cancel the scheduled June 30 local elections, saying they would be undemocratic without the participation of Albania’s opposition, which boycotted them.
However, the ruling Socialist majority and the Albanian lawmakers called Meta’s decision “unconstitutional” and voted against it.
Albania held the elections for mayors and local council members as scheduled on June 30 and the Socialist candidates won overwhelmingly since the majority of them were unopposed or opposed by candidates of small political parties.
On July 2, through a second presidential decree, Meta decided to schedule Oct. 13 as the new date for local elections, seeing this step as the only solution to the political crisis in order for Albanians not to leave the country.
In late May the European Commission recommended Albania and North Macedonia to be invited to open negotiations, but the EU member states delayed the decision by October.