OP-ED/How to prevent vetting of politicians from degenerating

OP-ED/How to prevent vetting of politicians from degenerating
This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.albanianfreepress.al

By Alfred Peza

Although the Democratic Party has submitted in parliament a legal incentive to institutionalize the vetting process in Albanian politics, a war seems to have broken out. With the sort of intensity that we’re seeing, this war may seriously infect society.

As if this was not enough, this war may also lead to the process of political vetting to degenerate. This process should be a natural institutional process which follows the reform in justice. Once justice and police are free of all corrupt people and criminal elements, vetting of politicians and heads of state administration is another phase of the strategy of the country’s Europeanization.

Institutional vetting

The US State Department official, Elisabeth Millard declared that the key for the vetting of Albanian politicians is the setting up of two institutions, SPAK and BKH. Both of these two institutions will be part of the new justice system. “I think that they are two important institutions. If they do their job correctly, they will help us to see advances in this important domain”, Millard declared in Tirana.

These two institutions are supposed to conduct the criminal vetting and this process follows administrative vetting through KPK and KPA and it’s this administrative vetting that the 800 judges and prosecutors of the country are currently going through.

This is the institutional and constitutional route that the vetting of Albanian politics is expected to follow in the near future. Meanwhile, our opposition has proposed a process which is not part of the new justice system, by demanding a commission of “independent” experts.

The majority seems determined to send this proposal to the Venice Commission for an opinion. Meanwhile, the opposition is against this and the only argument that it’s offering is that the country is in a state of emergency and that the government and PM Rama fear this process. However, this prestigious institution has continuously offered its support for important bills and constitutional reforms taking place in Albania.

Popular vetting

What the opposition wants to call political vetting, is something which will lead to nothing. Instead of the institutional path, the opposition has chosen another path and this is the path of “popular vetting”, by publicly denouncing a list of political opponents. In this case, popular vetting is nothing else but an attempt not to offer constitutional and legal truths, but political “truths” for an unprecedented verbal war which does not aim at making justice or strengthen institutions. What’s more, the aim of this incentive is not even to free politics from criminal elements.

The latest action of the opposition aims at smearing the opponent at any cost. Instead of leaving this political vetting to the institutions, all the opposition is trying to do is artificially displace this process outside the system and onto the street, TV studios, newspapers, social networks and online media.

Instead of a court trial, the aim is to subject politicians to a people’s court. Instead of a legal process, they want to subject their opponents to a public trial.

All of this is nothing else but a populist political behavior, which only aims at gaining short-term political credit and not to conduct deep reforms.

Conclusion

There’s an expression in Italian politics, according to which, the easiest way to investigate a scandal, an event, a phenomenon or an issue is to set up an inquiry committee. Experience in Albania has shown that the work of these committees has led to nothing.

As a result, leaving political vetting in the hands of politicians does nothing else but postpones this process indefinitely.

Therefore, in order to see a proper vetting process take place in politics, then we should deprive politicians of this “dangerous instrument” and let institutions do their job.

Note: The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy

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