By Peter Tase
Although the communist iron curtain crumbled thirty years ago in the streets of Tirana, brutal political purges and prosecutions have become a notorious practice in Edi Rama’s political agenda, meanwhile his cronies are obstructing a prolonged judicial reform that has not taken effect.
As Albania prepares to hold Parliamentary elections on April 25th, lack of a Judicial reform has proved to be fatal in the country’s absence institutional independence and empowers organized crime to operate in full immunity inside Albanian territory. According to the Associated Press, “Post-communist Albania’s elections have always been strongly contested and frequently marred by irregularities, including alleged vote-buying and manipulation of ballot counts.” Because of decaying judicial system, today the President of Albania Ilir Meta had a physical confrontation with Tirana’s City Hall police, due the violation of national laws by Edi Rama’s empowered law enforcement officers.
The country is experiencing one of the worst moments in its history since 1912, Albania’s institutions, with the exception of the President of the Republic, are strictly aligned under the orders of Prime Minister Rama, including the Attorney General’s Office all the way down to the remotest city hall in the country.
According to Robert Carmona-Borjas: “A long-term consequence has been judges living well beyond their publicly disclosed means, mobsters overlooked for prosecution and a political sub-culture reliant on a system which keeps them well protected.” Such practices are deteriorating the independence of decision making among constitutionally independent state bodies – including the Supreme Judicial Council and Constitutional Court – harming the democratic standards and violating the balance of powers in a parliamentary republic.
According to Dr. Tobias Rüttershoff: “The Ministers for Europe of the 27 EU states adopted and supplemented demands from the Bundestag so that the West Balkan state must now fulfil 15 conditions before the individual negotiations chapters or clusters can be opened. Six of which still need to be fulfilled prior to beginning the 1st intergovernmental conference. Even though great hopes were placed on these six conditions being fulfilled before the end of 2020 and, thus, on the conference taking place as part of the German EU Council Presidency, the chances of this are currently dwindling.”
A key condition to be implanted is the fulfillment of a thorough Judicial reform in Albania, such actions are tremendously needed to secure the country’s integration in the European Union. Edi Rama’s discourse focused only on the appearance of his ministerial cabinet and further emphasized recently with his parliamentarian candidates is intentionally setting aside substantial implementation of public policies and vital legislative bills, such a tradition has been his modus operandi over the last seven years.
In addition to these endemic challenges, Albania is reviving the model of brutal communist purges against the independent media outlets and parties of the opposition as it struggles to fight corruption among government officials and ensure the independence of the judiciary. April 25th will be determining Albania’s political future and European Union integration, a decades long aspiration that will become a reality only with Tirana’s upcoming government shaped by the Democratic Party and the Socialist Movement of Integration.