Direct democracy

Direct democracy

IBNA Op-Ed/The claim that this way improves representative democracy and strengthens direct democracy is completely absurd. This is pure demagogy. In fact, the opposite has taken place, the centralization of power in the famous ‘Executive Committees’ which come back more than 24 years later. I don’t understand where they have seen this ‘direct democracy’. Perhaps they have decided to reestablish the Democratic Front of that time, which in a way, adequately responds to the District Committees

By Kanan Braho

Of course, the Administrative Territorial Reform was necessary. In theory, the way it was approved, the criteria for the new territorial division and the objectives that had to be met, were accepted in general, by political parties and public opinion.

The full analysis of a number of factors would lead to an objective determination, if a given local government unit would meet or not the criteria to be a Municipality.

The case of the Municipality of Orikum is the best example of the use of the strength of power to arbitrarily decide on the future of a region, without taking into consideration any scientific facts, ignoring all data relating to the area, resources, economic capacities, history, etc.

The question that is raised is this: Doesn’t the Municipality of Orikum meet the criteria for self government as a result of the lack of capacities, resources, territory, etc?

Or is it being used as a “merchandise” to satisfy the old appetites of the new landlords in Tirana and Vlore?

It’s hard to find such a well defined territory such as the one of the region of Dukat with an area of more than 340 square kilometers, the biggest local government unit in Albania.

It’s difficult to find a local government unit such as the Municipality of Orikum, which has inside of it 100 km of coast, tourist port, rivers, a lagoon, national park, fields, mountains, etc.

It’s hard to find an almost determined physiognomy as far as economic and infrastructural development is concerned. It’s difficult to find an area with urban studies such as the one in the town of Orikum, with an ongoing megaproject, such as the one of the Islamic Bank for Water and Drainage System.

It’s hard to find another region filled with a thousand year history, with an archaeological park (one of the eight parks of Albania) and many cultural monuments.

The Plan of Local Development of the Municipality of Orikum and urban studies, have foreseen a constant growth of population, due to the tourist and  economic orientation of the area. Even today, the population of the area has doubled and it grows even more in the peak of the tourist season.

The four pillars, where the government’s decision to erase the Municipality of Orikum from the map has been based, fall one after the other. The Municipality of Orikum has all the human and economic resources to function as a single local government unit, to be an example of economic development and to offer services for its citizens and the people that visit it.

The claim that this way improves representative democracy and strengthens direct democracy is completely absurd. This is pure demagogy. In fact, the opposite has taken place, the centralization of power in the famous ‘Executive Committees’ which come back more than 24 years later. I don’t understand where they have seen this ‘direct democracy’. Perhaps they have decided to reestablish the Democratic Front of that time, which in a way, adequately responds to the District Committees.

The Municipality of Orikum doesn’t need permission from Vlora to develop and become prosperous. We have proved with facts during our term in office, that within a short period of time, with the right will and vision, with the collaboration and support of the democrat government, we completely changed infrastructure, we improved the service offered to the citizens and with their participation, we determined the future of this area.

The government must not hinder the implementation of development plans and must meet its obligations for the construction of national road segments, to take concrete steps for the recognition, restitution and registration of all the properties of the citizens of the Municipality of Orikum and it doesn’t need to “obliterate” an area which is fully capable of self governance.

Without taking into consideration the negative sense of comparison, we can say that there are even states in Europe which have a smaller territory, fewer resources, capacities and economic potentials than the Municipality of Orikum.

This is a Territorial Administrative Reform which doesn’t have the direct approval of the citizens and on the other hand, it doesn’t even have the approval of other interested actors and the consensus of the opposition.

I hope that the governing majority will not treat the Municipality of Orikum as something to satisfy the politicians and businessmen of the renaissance, neither as the trophy of the new landlords of Vlora, with which they can do as they please.

Post majority is still in time to put an end to its expansionist passions, by allowing the citizens of this area, although they have been deprived of their properties in many occasions, to govern this region, like they have done for thousands of years, otherwise they will face with the citizens, not just as voters, but as decision makers.

This is “Direct Democracy”.

*Former Mayor of the Municipality of Orikum, Albania

** The opinion of the author doesn’t necessarily represent IBNA’s editorial line