Op-Ed/Decriminalization, a process of national importance

Op-Ed/Decriminalization, a process of national importance

By Lulzim Basha

Leader of the Democratic Party of Albania

The consensual approval of the bill on Decriminalization at the Parliamentary Select Committee and its expected voting in the Parliament of Albania is an event of historical importance for Albanian society, for our democracy, for political and constitutional institutions of the country, for our political, institutional, social, economical and cultural life, for the image of our country in the international arena, for the future of our children, for the moral, ethical and professional standards that must be promoted by politics, parties, institutions, and the democratic state.

All of these elements of the daily political, economical and social life of Albanians faced a serious danger, whichhad it not been stopped and removed completely, it would compare to the worst things that can happen to a nation.

This danger consists of the crime in power, crime in the system, through the promotion of individuals with criminal records in the state institutions, by appointing traffickers, murderers or pimps in key public posts, allowing the underworld and its representatives to make political decisions.

Can there be a bigger threat to society? Can there be a bigger drama for a country than the offering crime a privileged status and allowing it to rule?

People’s consensus says “no”. It says “no” because it has proven throughout the centuries what it means for scruples, for morals, for the virtue, for wisdom, for knowledge, peace, for dignity, for development and wellbeing, for the entire system of positive values of the family and society to be ruled by evil, to be dictated by violence and crime. The Albanian family, the Albanian parents invest a lot and sacrifice for the education of their children with the best virtues.

Crime within a system is the most brutal and lowly denial of this investment.

Crime within a system defeats knowledge and virtue.

Crime within a system marks the end of everything.

In today’s Albania, this threat has not been and is not hypothetical, but it’s real. We have not raised the alarm based on suppositions, but based on shocking facts, that we have faced and continue to face until the end, along with the citizens, with full national and European awareness, for the necessity of cooperation for the joint interests of the citizens and the great interests of the country.

The bill on decriminalization is a fulfilled national interest, which will be sealed in a plenary session; it’s a big step forward which creates a strong legal basis to remove one of the worst things and heal one of the biggest wounds of our country and our democracy.

Based on the best western practices, the consensual bill on decriminalization introduces an impenetrable filter for individuals with criminal records in the parliament of Albania, in the government, local government, state institutions and important public offices. This bill provides the suspension of every mandate and abrogation of every appointment which violates it.

It will no longer be possible for individuals with criminal records, based on the provisions of the bill on Decriminalization, to see themselves MPs, mayors, councilors, directors and senior officials.

There will no longer be people from this category in the pyramid of elected or appointed institutions. Those who are affected by the law, will be removed from office.

This bill puts an end to a bad and ugly nightmare, which was shaping a republic of evil.

This bill marks the freeing of institutions and politics from the presence and power of crime. This bill marks the irreversible fight against crime, the establishment of the authority of law and healthy morals within the state institutions.

This is a battle that we fought and won together with our citizens, who regardless of their political convictions, strongly backed and encouraged the vital cause of decriminalization.

Along with our friends and partners, USA and EU, which reacted based on their friendly and democratic feelings against the most acute problem pointed out by the opposition in Albania, by insisting for a consensual solution which was given and is being given.

The support given by our American and European friends has been and remains decisive to make decriminalization a law and a reality of our political and institutional life.

But the approval of the bill through consensus is just the start. The cause of decriminalization requires political will and determination to rigorously apply the law. The application of the law is a new imperative of the time, it’s a new task which must start immediately.

The end of this destructive epidemic for Albanian democracy is and will be a new start for the Albania of values and virtues. We have reason to believe that we will work hard in order for a new era to start, without crime vested with power, without power vested with crime. This is why we started and will continue with this great battle.

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