Albania was hoping to be asked to start European Union membership talks this month but that now seems unlikely to happen.

EU leaders want to see a country with stable democratic institutions, but in the past week, President Ilir Meta has cancelled local elections that were scheduled for the end of the month because the opposition Democratic Party refuses to take part in them.

Making matters worse, the ruling Socialist Party has questioned Meta’s constitutional authority to change the date. There is no constitutional court to rule on the matter, because its judges’ finances are being investigated and they are suspended.

So Albania presents a picture of anything but a stable democratic state, which is a precondition of EU membership.

Meta says it will harm

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