By Majlinda Bregu
Member of Parliament of the Democratic Party of Albania
If you search for the term “decriminalization” on Google, you may come up with a long list of decriminalizing processes:
Decriminalization of prostitution; Decriminalization of drugs; Decriminalization of homosexuality; Decriminalization of those who use domestic violence; Decriminalization of criminal offenses perpetrated by minors; Decriminalization for euthanasia and so on.
Meanwhile, only news from Albania and nowhere else comes up under “decriminalization of parliament”.
Although we may be similar to some of the types of decriminalization above, through our experience in this parliament, we may risk on enriching the vocabulary of politics on a global level through our experience.
A year ago, the opposition drafted a platform of issues with five points which were the basis of establishing relations with the majority, in order to put an end to parliamentary boycott, which in fact started with criminalization of parliament.
On 3 December of last year in Brussels, Knut Fleckenstein and Eduard Kukan asked me: what is the most important issue for you among these five points.
The removal of people with criminal records from parliament, I said. If this model continues, whereby dirty money, drugs and organized crime have their representatives in parliament, then we will soon no longer have place here.
Both of them were committed as of that day to handle this major issue on behalf of their parliamentary groups. I don’t think the situation had become tense in the European Parliament just because the Albanian opposition had boycotted parliament, but because the information of all those who are Albania’s partners in its Europeanization process, had become clearer.
Both MEPs arrived in Tirana to talk closely to the heads of parties and to convince us to commit not only toward each other, but also toward European parliament that we would work together in a consensual way with the assistance of EU on the issue of individuals with criminal records.
Thus, for Christmas, we came up with a resolution and the opposition started to put its most important cause to practice; it started to cleanse politics from crime.
Today, everyone is ready to vote, but not a resolution, because in many occasions, we have not respected them. But we’re ready to vote for the decriminalization of politics and institutions. Decriminalization was not on the menu of obligations that the Europeans put on Albania’s agenda in the past two years, but it was made Albania’s main obligation, because it was born as an internal necessity of the country.
There are many visible and invisible stains, scenarios which are as dirty as decriminalization, pacts which are not political at all and the shame of which is not felt only by those who cannot live without power.
But if decriminalization is finalized as it should do, it will give back to Albania its politics.
MPs with criminal records had not only held to ransom parliament or the majority. Neither those who chair municipalities today and who will be affected by this bill, have not held to local government to ransom. Even those who run the administration, have not held the administration of this country to ransom. No.
But all together, and above all the heads of these parties who strived so much to link crime with politics, were the ones to hold politics to ransom, or faith on politics.
Therefore, congratulations to us for accepting to come out of the structure of obstruction in this society.
And this is only the start. /ibna/
* The opinion of the author doesn’t necessarily represent IBNA’s editorial line