On Albania’s Elections Law: Shame On Politicians, Two Years Relaxed And Two Days Perplexed – OpEd


An insurmountable shame on Albanian politics! For more than two years, political elite had time to carry out the electoral reform, but no one addressed its challenges over this time. And now, in the last two days of abrupt deadline set by the international diplomats and agreed upon with the pertinent local factors, they are shaking and belly dancing to find a compromise regarding the final draft of this reform, that later on it must be voted in the Albanian Parliament.

For more than two years now, the OSCE / ODIHR, the European Union, the United States of America, the Council of Europe, and particular states with consolidated democracies have urged Albanian politicians to reform the electoral legislation to prevent election irregularities observed in the parliamentary elections of June 2017 and in local government elections of 2019.

Lack of Responsibility

In every reform, but also in every strategy, event, priority, project, program, in addition to the action plan and the measures that ought to be taken, it is necessary to anticipate the allocated time schedule for fulfilling these obligations.

Strategies, events, priorities, projects, or political programs without time limits for their implementation or in violation of these deadlines are a complete lack of responsibility for political-decision-making and decision-making factors. The lack of reliability or mockery of the timeframe established for implementing policies, including reforms in any field, reflects a standard of politics that does not even respect itself, scoffs its citizens and ignores the international community. 

Politics is a process. As such it develops and matures over time. Time in politics is fundamental. Ignoring time, not respecting deadlines, mocking them are certainly reflections of old politics, that is well revealed, without any respect for itself, without obligations to its citizens and without a consideration of international factors that assist and support.

May 31st, 2020 was fixed in the minds of every Albanian citizen, of every information media, of every international partner as the due date of concluding and reaching the consensus for electoral reform. It is a fundamental legislative reform for Albanian democracy. It is a long-awaited reform. It is an urgent alarm for the citizens of this country. It is an ultimatum-type request made from the EU to start negotiations for Albania’s membership.

The irresponsibility of Albanian politics is shocking Albanian citizens, it is astounding the most prestigious foreign media, it is surprising our international partners. Albanian politics lives out of time… declares itself out of time… works out of time…it acts out of time…The time for Albanian politics is paltry, invalid, insignificant.

Everywhere in the world, including our people the adage goes: “Time is worth gold”, “Time is money”, “Time is everything”. Only to Albanian politics “time is nothing”. In the thinking of Albanian politics is deeply rooted, very deep, so deep that it cannot be uprooted, the terrible orientalist medieval heritage…“avash-avash”“good deeds are done slowly”… “do not rush”… etc. It is these primitive residues and reminiscences that have left Albania, geographically located in the middle of Europe, but resting in an economically backward suburb of the old continent. What a Shame!

Lack of Trust

Whenever there is a need to take steps of compromise or consensual decisions the main political actors in the country, the majority and the opposition party are completely blocked. The whole country is shaken. Citizens are so overwhelmed that they are disappointed with their fatherland, where they live and work. The national economy is starting to backslide. Social problems are getting worse and worse. The international image of the country is shattered. International partners are disappointed and continue to react in the most bizarre ways.

In these cruel moments of a disturbing lack of compromise and unattainable consensus between the majority and the political opposition in Albania, a wall of mistrust emerges that reminds us the “Great Wall of China” between China and the Mongols, or the “Berlin Wall” between the two Cold War blocs. Do you think that the Albanian majority and opposition are two “extra terra” realities, outside the Albanian environment, without any connection to this country, without a resemblance to this nation, short of a common agenda addressed for their countrymen, without a real continuity of cooperation with international partners. In the face of every compromise and consensus in Albanian politics, the instinct of evil, anger, skepticism, hatred, fear, always prevail. Political opponents are portrayed as monsters and always blamed.  

At the round tables intended for compromise and consensus, are sitting square minded politicians and sharp edges of conflict of interests emerge and civic and national interests are thrown away; selfishness and megalomania are rampant, coarse pragmatism and consumerist materialism are elevated. A sick leadership rises above this ruined country and poor people. International Partners are pessimistic and concerned. As a result, the whole world changes, develops, while Albania remains in a status quo.

Shame, really, what a shame!

Absence of skills

When you see Albanian politicians sitting around negotiation tables, your head starts to twist and turn from their thoughts, attitude, and actions. Chaotic thoughts, unrelated words, out-of-control emotions, a body language saturated with hallucinations. As if the negotiating table is a minefield, ready to explode.  Among the Albanian negotiating politicians, Freudian instincts prevail over calmness, human behavior, rational, reasonable, fair, and useful arguments.

It is clear that the political parties enter into negotiations without visionary strategies, without major objectives, without priorities, without an action plan, without a timeline, without measures to be taken, without role sharing, without alternative scenarios, without any predictability, without a calculation of risk, without taking into account the cost-benefit rapport, without considering the short-term, medium-term and long-term consequences, without blocking tactics and exit in case of a negotiation crises.  All political negotiating parties in Albania are without any foundations in education, lack a relevant information, refuse to acquire proper training, are missing the basis of professionalism and negotiation skills.

It is clear that Albanian negotiating politicians go to the negotiating table with a mountain of prejudices on each other and for the opponent, they sit at the table with ad-hoc projects, erupting on a spontaneous basis, with the philosophy “let it generate any outcome, who cares” , paired with the trick “to mock and make fun of each other”, to scoff their citizens, to deceive the international actors. 

The inability to talk, dialogue and negotiate with Albanian politicians is read on their forehead. Their attitude in Tirana, is even ascertained while looking at them from the top of Mount Everest. Where there is incompetence, devil reigns. Such politicians, unable to reach compromises and public policy consensus within their country and for their country and people, can never negotiate agreements, protocols, and international treaties with the enemies of our people and our Nation.

A real shame for Albanian politics! They started the electoral legislation reform two years ago but abandoned it, were not committed to a good start. Today, they are sounding the alarm bells for the deadline set forth by the international partners; that was agreed with the Albanian political clique, that was not responsible, was dishonest and unable to find a compromise regarding the final draft of this reform, which is expected to be voted by the Albanian Parliament.  For two years now, the OSCE / ODIHR, the European Union, the United States, the Council of Europe and the countries with a consolidated democracy have urged Albanian politicians to revise the electoral legislation to prevent previous general and local elections’ irregularities and ensure the beginning of EU membership negotiations. Two years went by without any concern, the last two days, succumbed to an alarm!

A shame, infinite shame!

This article was translated from Albanian Language by: Peter M. Tase

* Prof. Dr. LISEN BASHKURTI is the Dean of the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences, Epoka University, Tirana – ALBANIA. 

Dr. Lisen Bashkurti

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lisen Bashkurti is the Dean of the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences (FLSS), Epoka University, Tirana, Albania. In 1992-1993, Bashkurti was the ambassador of Albania to the Republic of Hungary.

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