By Urim Shera/TIRANA, July 24 – Ilir Meta was sworn in as Albania’s new President during an extraordinary session of the parliament on Monday, paving the way to formally take over the post from former President Bujar Nishani later today.Ilir Meta was elected on April 28, 2017 President of the Republic of Albania with 87 votes pro and two against.
The former Parliament Speaker Ilir Meta, 48, took his oath of office with his hand on the Albanian constitution. The swearing-in ceremony at Albanian Assembly was presided over by the Deputy Speaker Valentina Leskaj.In a speech to his former colleagues in the Parliament, President Meta voiced his strong will to uphold and respect the Albanian constitution in best interest of Albanian people and Albanian nation.“Constitutionalism and political neutrality will be the major pillars and main acts of my presidency,” Meta said.
“I was elected to this parliament 25 years ago and today I have to give up parliamentary life to assume high duties as President. I’ve been at the forefront of efforts for the country’s European progress,” he said, pledging he would help and promote the spirit of consensus, dialogue and institutional cooperation in order to further advance the country’s democratic reforms.
The Monday’s agenda also includes a ceremony of transferring power from former president Bujar Nishani at the President’s office with distinguished political personalities and representatives of diplomatic corps expected to attend.
Ilir Meta, seventh President of the Republic of Albania
TIRANA, July 24 /– Ilir Meta, Speaker of the Parliament and leader of junior ruling party, the Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI), was sworn in Monday as the seventh President of the Republic of Albania since the country’s former Communist regime collapsed in 1990.
Ilir Meta was elected on April 28, 2017 President of the Republic of Albania with 87 votes pro and two against.
Meta, 48, has a 26-year long political career being one of the most active politicians in Albania over the past two decades.
Ilir Meta was born on March 24, 1969 in Skrapar region, southern Albania.
He graduated from the Faculty of Economy, Political Economy department of Tirana University, where he also pursued his post-graduate studies. Meta is member of the Assembly of Albania for 15 years and one of most active politicians and leading figures of Albanian politics. He is widely seen by Albanian media and public as the leader of the third pole of Albanian politics.
Ilir Meta started his political career as a Socialist Party MP at the age of 23 and has been continuously Member of Parliament since then.
Meta engaged in politics since 1990 as an active participant in the students’ movement that toppled Albania’s former communist regime. Since 1992 he has been elected Member of Parliament in all legislatures and has been an active member of several Parliamentary Commissions. From 1996 to 1997 he was Deputy Chairman of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.
During the period of October 1998 – October 1999, Ilir Meta held the office of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Coordination, as well as that of State Secretary for European Integration in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during March – October 1998.
Meta is one of the founders of the Euro-Socialist Youth Forum of Albania (FRESH) and has a prominent contribution to the forum’s membership with the International Union of Socialist Youth. Ilir Meta has served as deputy chairman and chairman of FRESH until 2001.
As member of the Socialist Party, Meta has served as the 31st Prime Minister of Albania from 1999 to 2002. He served Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2002 to 2003 and again from 2009 to 2010, and he has been Speaker of the Albanian Parliament since 2013. He also held positions as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Trade and Energy, in both left-wing and right-wing governments.
He subsequently founded the Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI) in 2004 and continues to lead the party. From 2009 to 2013, the LSI was a member of the governing coalition with the right-wing Democratic Party of Albania. Meta served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs as well as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Trade and Energy of the Republic of Albania. Prior to that, he held the Chairmanship of the Parliamentary Commission of European Integration.
Following the 2013 parliamentary election, Ilir Meta was elected as Speaker of Parliament on September 10, 2013.
Meta was an early and strong campaigner for the visa-free with the Schengen area, which was accomplished in 2010 to the benefit of all citizens of Albania. He remains one of the strongest campaigners and advocates of regional and European integration for all countries of the Western Balkans, as a means to further strengthen stability and peace in the region.
From 2004 to 2006, Ilir Meta was nominated as member of the International Commission on the Balkans, chaired by the former Italian Prime Minister, Giuliano Amato. The Commission drafted a series of important recommendations towards the integration of the Western Balkan countries into the European Union and paved the way towards Kosovo’s independence.
Ilir Meta has been lecturer at the Economic Faculty of Tirana University. He has also lectured at several renowned universities and academies overseas, including Harvard University, London School of Economics and the European Academy in Berlin.Ilir Meta speaks Albanian, English and Italian. He is married to Monika Kryemadhi. They have two daughters and a son, Bora, Era and Besar.(ATSH)