Albania faces political crisis as president refuses to approve new ministers

Albania faces political crisis as president refuses to approve new ministers
By Valentina Dimitrievska February 21, 2016

Albanian president Bujar Nishani has asked the country’s constitutional court to provide an opinion on the procedure for nominating of the new ministers, after a mini reshuffle following the sacking of finance minister Shkelqim Cani, the presidential office said on February 20.

The president's move could create a government crisis if there is no official confirmation of the new ministerial posts, which should take place within seven days, by February 23. Nishani comes from the ranks of the Democratic Party, which is now in opposition, and frequently refuses to ratify laws initiated by Prime Minister Edi Rama’s government, sending them back to the parliament for revision.

On February 16, Rama unexpectedly replaced finance minister Cani with minister for economic development Arben Ahmetaj, without providing any reasons. Milva Ekonomi, was named as Ahmetaj’s replacement.

According to Nishani, the parliament has created a stalemate, giving no chance to the president to submit decrees for the new appointments by the deadline of seven days because the constitutional court’s provision is unclear in that regard.

Nishani will not sign the decrees for the appointment of new ministers until the parliament approves the dismissal of Cani and Ahmetaj from their previous posts, his office said in a statement.

Broadcaster Top Channel reported on February 20, that Nishani’s initiative came after the government warned that if the president violates the deadline of seven days and does not submit the decrees to the parliament, it will start procedures to dismiss the president.

The governing Socialist Party came to power in 2013.