General Prosecutor Adriatik Llalla’s mandate expired on Thursday. The Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee gathered on the same day to discuss a memo put together by the Assembly’s Service of Independent Bodies’ Oversight on the procedure for the selection of a temporary General Prosecutor to replace Llalla pending the establishment of the High Prosecutorial Council (HPC) – the body in charge of electing a permanent one. Socialist Party (SP) MP Bledar Çuçi said the procedure provides for a 30-day deadline for the selection of the temporary General Prosecutor, during which the vacancy must be issued with five days for the most experienced prosecutors to submit their candidacies. According to Çuçi, the committee is then expected to hold a public hearing and in two days draft a report on the candidacies to be sent to the Assembly for consideration and voting. To this, parliamentary committee chair Ulsi Manja (SP) added that that the selection of a temporary General Prosecutor had become necessary in view of the HPC not yet having been established. Democratic Party (DP) MP Eduard Halimi, on the other hand, said such a procedure was not in accordance with constitutional provisions which, he said, stated the competency for the selection of the temporary General Prosecutor stood with the HPC and that the Assembly could not apply the practice of a simple majority of votes on this case. Opposition committee members then left the meeting protesting what they called a clear effort on the ruling majority’s part to capture justice. The committee’s decision published on the parliament’s website reports that the prosecutors with the highest seniority and who meet other relevant criteria set forth in the law on the organization and functioning of prosecution in the Republic of Albania are free to submit their applications for this post, and the deadline for this purpose expires on 12 December at 6 p.m. The committee will review the applications and hold hearings with the candidates who meet the relevant criteria, and on the basis of this process will select the candidates to be sent to parliament, out of whom will be voted the new temporary General Prosecutor.
Prior to the Parliamentary Legal Affair Committee’s meeting, Prime Minister Edi Rama reiterated his appeal on DP Chair Lulzim Basha to meet and find a consensus on the selection of the temporary General Prosecutor. Rama suggested the ruling majority and the opposition work together until the expected opening of European Union membership negotiations in June 2018, under what he called a National Pact for the Europe We Want. In his response to Rama’s offer, DP Chair Basha said Albania needed instead a pact on abiding by the constitution and the rule of law principles. He then continued to listing four measures in implementation of this pact: (1) the immediate unblocking of the justice reform and the HPC establishment, as well as the constitutional election of a General Prosecutor, with the support of a qualified majority made by 3/5 of MPs, out of candidates who have passed successfully the vetting process; (2) the full lifting of the immunity of SP MP Saimir Tahiri and his criminal prosecution as an ordinary citizen; (3) the uncompromising fight against corruption, including the investigation of the criminal concessions in the health care, waste management, PPPs, and etc.; (4) the full protection of the citizens’ rights and freedoms, including their property rights, against the state’s arbitrary violation of the same.