Albanian Socialist Majority Proposes Parliament To Dismiss Central Bank Board Member For Anti-Government Comments

Socialist Majority Proposes Parliament to Dismiss Central Bank Board Member

The ruling Socialist Party (PS) MPs proposed to Parliament to dismiss Arben Malaj, one of the nine members of the Bank of Albania (BoA) Supervisory Council, following his critical remarks about the government and Municipality of Tirana.

The proposal cited Art.47/2/c of the Law on Bank of Albania, which stipulates that the BoA Supervisory Council can propose to Parliament to dismiss a board member for “serious violation of work ethics and heavily harming of Bank of Albania’s interest”.

The socialists claimed that Malaj has seriously violated the work ethics because “in all his public appearances […] he has not educated or informed the public” about BoA activities but has made political comments.

The proposal argues the following: A parliament resolution of 60 days ago requested BoA to implement its Code of Ethics, which prohibits its staff to engage in political activity. The Supervisory Council has failed to implement its own code of ethics and report to Parliament within the 30-day period required by law. Hence, the council has failed to exercise its duties, in which case the Parliament has the right to step in to guarantee implementation of the Law on BoA by dismissing Arben Malaj.

Bank of Albania is an independent institution. The law regulating its activity clearly stipulates that only a majority of BoA Supervisory Council members can propose dismissal of its members. The PS MPs’ proposal is an attempt to take over competencies of an independent institution in violation of the law.

Arben Malaj’s was proposed BoA board member by the PS. In December 2018, his candidacy passed parliamentary vote with majority and opposition support. Malaj has been a high PS official since its foundation, as well as minister of Finance and Economy 1997–2005.

Malaj has made critical comments toward government on issues including arts, social, political, and economic matters.

The trigger for the PS decision to dismiss him seems to have been a Facebook post by Malaj in support of artists protesting against the demolition of the National Theater.

Yesterday, Malaj shared a post from the Alliance for the Protection of the National Theater with pictures from “Julius Caesar” play by Shakespeare, staged in front of the National Theater as part of the ongoing one-and-a-half-years-long protest.

In his post, Malaj expressed gratitude to protesting artists and wrote:

Submission to the arrogant and greedy means admitting the spiritual, social and economic poverty.
Despite the thousands of poor in Tirana, [Mayor] Veliaj’s first public concern one day after the “elections without solutions” was not to have demolished the Theater earlier.

Malaj stated that the proposal for dismissal was “political”, similar to Turkish President Erdogan’s firing of the Central Bank Governor few days ago, after the latter did not succumb to government pressure to lower interest rates. He added that Head of PS Parliamentary Group Taulant Balla had threatened him after Malaj had refused his political requests regarding elections to the BoA board.

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