I have refrained from commenting on the political situation in Albania because I know that no matter what I write it will be viewed as against one party or the other. The first thing I want to make clear is that I am not a member of any political party in Albania. I am just a citizen watching and listening to what is going on and what has been going on the past year. But I cannot sit idly by any longer, quietly.
First and foremost in my mind is the fact that no country can call itself ‘democratic’ which does not allow elections to be held. The fact that the opposition revoked their mandates, subsequently leaving no ‘opposition’ in parliament and therefore no candidates available for the ballots, is not a reason to withhold elections. The fact is that the opposition revoked their mandates leaving a huge gap in parliament and thereby leaving their constituents without a voice. This is a fact! The fact is that what the opposition did is to blatantly remove any voice of the people who voted for them. Whether they felt it was a strategic move to make the PM step down during a period of relative prosperity in the country, relative being the key word, they took it upon themselves to decide to vacate their parliamentary duties and begin a period of protests with the sole purpose of making the PM step down. How was that going to work? Why would he when he was lawfully elected?
Is the country without problems? No, of course not. Corruption, drug trafficking, judicial reform, unemployment, election fraud, these are all very real issues. But did they start with this government? Really? Perhaps it has gotten worse, but some things have gotten better. Of course it depends on who you ask and those of one party will each tell you their version of it. I am not here to answer those questions or point fingers.
As a whole Albania has many, many problems, the least of which is dealing with human rights and property rights. I personally have many issues dealing with property rights and restitution of property but I am not blaming this government or that government, I blame all, past and present. Some of our properties were returned in 1994, during the early days of the ‘democratic’ government. Some of our properties in 2011 were sold out to government concessions without our permission under the elected ‘democratic government’ at the time. Some of our properties are still being denied registration in the Property Office under the current ‘socialist’ government. And so on, therefore, they are all to blame. The oligarchs of the past, since the fall of communism, are still in power today, so you see not much has changed.
The government should be for the people, by the people. What these politicians have forgotten, or maybe they just don’t care, is that Albania is not theirs to do with what they please. Albania is for all Albanians. Albania belongs to the people. They are representatives of the people who elected their party based on their promises. Promises, which, from what I can see, have barely been kept.
In May of 2019 Lulzim Basha, leader of the opposition Democrat Party said: “We are here with a mission, to liberate Albania from crime and corruption, to make Albania like the rest of Europe”. I hate to break it to him but Europe will never accept a country that does not allow its citizens to vote. Europe will never accept a country without a fully functional democracy. Europe will never accept a country with parties making decisions for the people without a mandate, without their voices being heard.
The way to liberate Albania from crime and corruption and make it like the rest of Europe is through a vote! Through the voice of the people, not Mr. Basha or Mr. Rama or Ms. Kryemadhi.
If these parties, the Democrat Party and the Party of Justice and Integration, really cared for their country, or its people, they would not have revoked their mandates in February 2019. This move greatly undermined democracy and created a highly combustible situation, which will lead to so much more chaos and disarray than ever if the elections are not held next week, by order of the President. They should have rather used their time, since the last election in 2017, to debate in Parliament; bring people to the table; call attention to all the issues facing the nation by engaging representatives from the EU and the USA; discuss in a professional and intellectual manner all the concerns and try, together, to resolve some of these very important issues before the next election in 2019.
Civil discourse is the key to resolving issues that affect a country and a people who feel they have been unjustly represented and treated. Discussion, mediation, understanding, and ultimately voting! What you have today is near anarchy. You have a population divided more than ever. Demands for a PM to step down when he was lawfully elected under the watchful eye of the EU, 3,000 independent election monitors deployed across the country, and with a deal struck giving the opposition key ministerial posts in the run-up.
What you have today, one week before the elections, is not democracy at work but the wants and needs of a party who is not willing to come to the table in a mature way and try to solve the problems of the country they say they love so much. The people need their politicians to work together through hard times, work together to resolve issues, work together for the common good, not burn mandates and walk out of the room like spoiled children!
I encourage all politicians to take a minute to refresh their memories of what the Albanian Constitution stands for and what they swore to uphold!
We, the people of Albania proud and aware of our history, with responsibility for the future, and with faith in God and/or other universal values,
with determination to build a social and democratic state based on the rule of law, and to guarantee the fundamental human rights and freedoms,
with a spirit of religious coexistence and tolerance,
with a pledge to protect human dignity and person hood, as well as for the prosperity of the whole nation, for peace, well-being, culture and social solidarity,
with the centuries-old aspiration of the Albanian people for national identity and unity, with a deep conviction that justice, peace, harmony and cooperation between nations are among the highest values of humanity,
we establish this Constitution
3. Governance is based on a system of elections that are free, equal, general and periodic.
1. Sovereignty in the Republic of Albania belongs to the people.
2. The people exercise sovereignty through their representatives or directly.
God Bless Albania!