Albania’s Constitutional Court rules on judicial reform

Albania’s Constitutional Court rules on judicial reform

Albania’s Constitutional Court is expected to rule today on judicial reforms passed in May. Judges’ associations have challenged provisions to vet judges

Photo: APA/EPA/Armando Babani

Photo: APA/EPA/Armando Babani

Albania’s Constitutional Court is expected to rule today on judicial reforms passed in May. Judges’ associations have challenged provisions to vet judges for connections to organised crime.

The reforms, necessary to open EU accession talks, preceded June 25 elections where PM Edi Rama’s Socialists won a parliamentary majority with 74 seats. With that majority, Rama has promised to test judges “for competence” and sack crooked ones (over 300 are accused of corruption).

While the election’s loser, the centre-right Democratic Party, also favours EU accession, it is seen as being more reluctant to pursue comprehensive judicial reforms, as most judges were appointed on its watch. They backed pre-election reforms, but only in return for appointing election overseers.

If the court strikes down the reforms, it will be a blow to Albania’s EU aspirations. But, if the Democrats remain divided after today’s internally controversial leadership race, Mr Rama can focus on challenging the judges without worrying about the parliamentary opposition. Expect him to continue aggressive reforms no matter the ruling.