President of Albania

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President of Albania
Presidenti i Shqipërisë
Flag of the President of the Republic of Albania.svg
Albanian Speaker Ilir Meta and Arben Cici (Ambassador of Albania to Denmark), in a meeting with OSCE PA staff in Copenhagen, 2 April 2014 (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
Ilir Meta

since 24 July 2017
Style President
His Excellency
Residence Pallati Presidencial
Seat Tirana
Appointer Parliament
Term length Five years
Renewable once
Formation 30 April 1991
First holder Ramiz Alia
Website www.president.al

The President of Albania (Albanian: Presidenti i Shqipërisë), officially styled the President of the Republic of Albania (Albanian: Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë), is the head of state, commander-in-chief of the military and the representative of the unity of the Albanian people.[1][2] The President has the power to set the date of the elections for the Parliament as well as referendum, grants pardons and awards and other state awards. In case of incapability to discharge duties of office, the Chairperson of the Parliament assumes the office of acting President until the President resumes duty, or until election of a new President.[3]

The Office of the President of Albania consists of the immediate staff of the president of the country, as well as support staff reporting to the president. The office is seated in the Presidential Office in the capital city Tirana. The Constitution of Albania defines the appearance and use of the presidential standard, flown on buildings of the Office of the President, the residence of the president, the transportation vehicles when in use by the president, and in other ceremonial occasions. The Spouse of the President is recognized as the First Lady of Albania, but holds no official role in the presidency. She often plays a protocol role at the Presidential Palace and during official visits.

The President is elected through a secret vote and without debate by the Parliament of Albania by a majority of three-fifths of all its members and is in every case elected for 5 years.[4] However, the Constitution of Albania sets a limit to a maximum of two terms in office.[5] The president-elect is required to take an oath of office before the members of the Parliament of Albania. The 7th and current officeholder is Ilir Meta of the Socialist Movement for Integration who was elected on 28 April 2017 and took office on July 24, 2017.

History

Albania has experienced different models of governance, including an international protectorate, a monarchy, a state-party regime and the parliamentary republic as well. Throughout all this period the function of the President of Albania and head of state has been exercised in various forms.

The first government after the independence was headed by Ismail Qemali, who also enjoyed the competences of the head of state. On 6 February 1914, Prince Wilhelm Wied was appointed as head of state by the Ambassadors Conference. From September 1914 until January 1920, Albania was transformed into a battle field and experienced the change of a number of governments, where the post of the head of state was played by different governments regencies. On 8 January 1920 the Congress of Lushnjë elected the 'High Council' composed by four members, one of whom would exercise the functions of the head of state by introducing and bringing back the parliamentarian way of governance. In 1924, Fan Noli was elected as head of government while exercising at the same time the functions of the head of State. After the frequent changes in governance, the Parliament of Albania approved and passed the republican form of regime on 25 January 1925 and elected Zog I of Albania as the President of Albania. The nation was proclaimed a monarchy and Ahmet Zogu was crowned the King of Albanians on 28 September 1928. After Albania was occupied by Italy in April 1939 and the unification of the two countries, Victor Emmanuel III became the King of Albania. From 1943 to 1944 the regencies governance was introduced once again under the German occupation.[6]

The end of the second World War and the liberation of Albania that took place in 1944 were followed by the holding of the first parliamentary elections in December 1945 and also by the transformation of the head of state’s function into a collegial body, the Presidium of the Parliament of Albania. During the communism from 11 January 1946 until 12 December 1990, the functions of the head of state were carried out by Omer Nishani from 10 January 1946 to 1 August 1953, by Haxhi Lleshi from 1 August 1953 to 22 November 1982 and by Ramiz Alia from 22 November 1982 to 22 February 1991. The 'Presidential Council', headed by Ramiz Alia was founded on 22 February 1991 and it lasted until 30 April 1991.

The election of the first President of the parliamentary Republic of Albania on 30 April 1991 by a multi political parties Assembly, marked the foundation of the constitutional institution of the President of Albania.[7]

Elections

Following the disintegration of the communist regime, the first multi-party elections in Albania were held in 1991, simultaneously with the 1991 parliamentary elections.[8] The result was a victory for Ramiz Alia of the Socialist Party of Albania (PS), who received 56.2% of the vote in the third round of the elections, ahead of 3 other candidates. Sali Berisha, the Democratic Party of Albania (PD) candidate and runner-up in the election, received almost 38.7% of the vote. After the collapse of a coalition government in December 1991 and the Democratic Party of Albania's (PD) landslide victory in the spring 1992 general election, Ramiz Alia resigned as the President on 3 April 1992.[9][10] One year later, the second presidential elections were held on 22 March 1992.[11] The result was a victory for Sali Berisha of the Democratic Party of Albania (PD), who received 57.3% of the vote in the second round of the elections, ahead of 5 other candidates. The fifth presidential elections were held on 24 June 2002. The result was a victory for Alfred Moisiu of the Democratic Party of Albania (PD), who was elected by the Parliament of Albania through a vote of 97 to 19.[12][13]

The sixth presidential elections were held on 20 June 2007 with almost four rounds. In the first round on 20 June 2007 and 27 June 2007, no candidate was presented. The Government of Albania and the opposition presented their proposed candidate lists on 5 July 2007, but did not accept either list. Afterwards, on 14 July 2007 the third round were held. At least in the fourth round on 20 July, Bamir Topi won the election. The seventh presidential elections were held on 30 May 2012 with four rounds until 11 June 2012. The first through third rounds of voting were inconclusive. In the fourth round, the result was a victory for Bujar Nishani of the Democratic Party of Albania (PD). The most recent and eighth presidential elections were held on 19, 20, 27 and 28 April 2017. In the fourth round the incumbent Chairman of the Parliament of Albania, Ilir Meta was elected as seventh President of Albania with 87 votes.[14]

Powers, duties and responsibilities

As of Article 89 of the Albanian Constitution sets the following qualifications for holding the presidency, to be a natural-born citizen of the Albanian Republic, to be at least forty years old and to be a resident in the Republic of Albania for at least ten years.[15][16]

The President of Albania, officially styled the President of the Republic of Albania represents the unity of the Albanian people in the country and abroad as the head of state. The President begins his duties officially after he takes the oath before the Parliament, but not before the mandate of the President who is leaving has been completed. The President of Albania is the supreme commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Albania and appoints and relieves military commanders of duty, conforming to applicable legislation. Furthermore, the Chief of the General Staff is appointed as well by the President.[17]

The Constitution, states that the President addresses messages to the Parliament, exercises the right of pardon according to the law, grants Albanian citizenship and permits it to be given up according to the law, gives decorations and titles of honor according to the law, accords the highest military rank according to the law, on the proposal of the Prime Minister, he appoints and withdraws plenipotentiary representatives of the Republic of Albania to other states and international organizations, accepts letters of credentials and the withdrawal of diplomatic representatives of other states and international organization accredited to him, signs international agreements according to the law, upon proposal of the Prime Minister, he appoints the Director of the National Security Department, nominates rectors of universities upon proposal of their council's representatives, sets the date of the elections for the Parliament, for the organs of local power and for the conduct of a referendum and requests opinions and information in writing from the directors of state institutions for issues that have to do with their duties.

Oath

Before assuming presidential duty, the president-elect is required to take an oath of office before the Parliament, swearing loyalty to the Constitution. The text of the oath in its Albanian form is sensitive to gender and all nouns always retain a neutral form. The president-elect takes the following oath of office, specified by the Constitution[18]:

Office and residence

The Presidential Office (Albanian: Presidenca) is the official workplace of the president. It consists of the immediate staff of the president, as well as support staff reporting to the president. Since the collapse of communism, the building was used as the Office of the president, having been used for this purpose uninterrupted up to this day. The building consists three floors where two entrance gates lead an oval driveway from the Dëshmorët e Kombit Boulevard.

The Presidential Palace (Albanian: Pallati presidencial), popularly known as the Palace of Brigades (Albanian: Pallati i Brigadave), is the official residence of the President of Albania.[19] The Palace was commissioned by King Zog I of Albania to serve as his main official residence. After the second World War it has been used by the Government of Albania for holding official ceremonies and state receptions. Due to its location near the Grand Park of Tirana, its gardens are quite extensive. It is surrounded by trees for nearly 200 metres and decorated in patterns and shapes of various designs. In addition the Palace was designed by Italian well-known architect Gherardo Bosio.[20]

Living former Officeholders

There are five living former Presidents of Albania.

Name Term Date of birth
Sali Berisha 1992–1997 (1944-10-15) October 15, 1944 (age 73)
Rexhep Meidani 1997–2002 (1944-08-17) August 17, 1944 (age 73)
Alfred Moisiu 2002–2007 (1929-12-01) December 1, 1929 (age 88)
Bamir Topi 2007–2012 (1957-04-24) April 24, 1957 (age 61)
Bujar Nishani 2012–2017 (1966-09-29) September 29, 1966 (age 51)

First Lady of Albania

During the Middle Ages, Albanians used several titles for the spouses of Albanian Monarchs. Donika Kastrioti was known as the spouse of Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg.

The title of the First Lady of Albania is a unofficial title, it is not an elected one, carries no official duties, and receives no salary. Nonetheless, first ladies have held a highly visible position in Albanian society. The role has evolved over the years, but she is, first and foremost, the spouse of the President. However, she accompanies the President in state and official visits abroad the borders of Albania. She generally oversee the administration of Presidential Palace, the mansion that serves as the official residence, while the Presidenca serving as the official office. They also organize events and civic programs, and typically get involved in different charities and social causes.

Name Relation to the President
Semiramis Alia wife of President Ramiz Alia
Liri Berisha wife of President Sali Berisha
Lidra Meidani wife of President Rexhep Meidani
Milica Moisiu* wife of President Alfred Moisiu
Teuta Topi wife of President Bamir Topi
Odeta Nishani wife of President Bujar Nishani
Monika Kryemadhi* wife of President Ilir Meta

* Because Milica Moisiu was deceased when Alfred Moisiu became President of the Republic, his youngest daughter Mirela Moisiu carried the First Lady duties.

* Because Monika Kryemadhi is a Member of Parliament and the leader of the second largest opposition party LSI, she refused to take on the duties of the First Lady therefor, the couple's eldest child and daughter Bora Meta is carrying on as First Lady.

See also

References

  1. ^ "KUSHTETUTA E REPUBLIKËS SË SHQIPËRISË" (pdf). wipo.int (in Albanian). p. Article 86.1. 
  2. ^ Albania in Pictures (Tom Streissguth ed.). Twenty-First Century Books, 2010. p. 37. ISBN 9780761363781. 
  3. ^ "1998 CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA". osce.org. p. 18. When the President of the Republic is temporarily unable to exercise his functions or his place is vacant, the Speaker of the Assembly takes his place and exercises his powers. 
  4. ^ "1998 CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA". osce.org. The President of the Republic is elected by the Assembly by secret ballot and without debate by a majority of three-fifths of all its members. 
  5. ^ "KUSHTETUTA E REPUBLIKËS SË SHQIPËRISË" (pdf). wipo.int (in Albanian). p. Article 88.1. 
  6. ^ "Kreu i shtetit, në historinë e Shqipërisë 100-vjeçare". gazeta-shqip.com (in Albanian). Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "ALBANIA Parliamentary Chamber: Kuvendi Popullor". ipu.org. The 1991 general elections were the first free and multiparty ones in Albania since World War II. 
  8. ^ Albania: Elections held in 1991 Inter-Parliamentary Union
  9. ^ Heads of States and Governments Since 1945 (Harris M. Lentz ed.). 4 February 2014. ISBN 1-884964-44-3. 
  10. ^ "Following the death of Enver Hoxha, Albania's long-time (1945-1985) dictator in April 1985, Ramiz Alia (born 1925) became the dominant political personality in the country". biography.yourdictionary.com. 
  11. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p133 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  12. ^ "Dr. Alfred Moisiu". president.al (in Albanian). 
  13. ^ "Debatet për Presidentin që nga Moisiu konsensual deri te Nishani". shqiptarja.com (in Albanian). Retrieved 2 August 2015. 
  14. ^ "Ilir Meta, president i ri i Shqipërisë". telegrafi.com. Retrieved 28 April 2017. Ilir Metës si president i Republikës 
  15. ^ "KUSHTETUTA E REPUBLIKËS SË SHQIPËRISË" (pdf). wipo.int (in Albanian). p. Article 86.2. 
  16. ^ "1998 CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA". osce.org. p. 17. Only an Albanian citizen by birth who has resided in Albania for not less than the past 10 years and who has reached the age of 40 may be elected President. 
  17. ^ "Struktura e Shtabit të Përgjithshëm". aaf.mil.al (in Albanian). 
  18. ^ "KUSHTETUTA E REPUBLIKËS SË SHQIPËRISË" (PDF). wipo.int (in Albanian). Betohem se do t'i bindem Kushtetutes dhe ligjeve te vendit, do te respektoj te drejtat dhe lirite e shtetasve, do te mbroj pavaresine e Republikes se Shqiperise dhe do t'i sherbej interesit te pergjithshem dhe perparimit te Popullit Shqiptar". Presidenti mund te shtoje edhe: "zoti me ndihmofte 
  19. ^ "SELIA E PRESIDENCËS". tirana.al (in Albanian). 
  20. ^ "Albanian Presidential Palace returns to the public". Independent Balkan News Agency. 17 April 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 

External links

  • Presidency of Albania (official site)
  • A brief history of the institution
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