This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.albanianfreepress.al
By Alfred Peza
At the start of the new political and parliamentary season, it was quickly understood that the new political action of the opposition is nothing more, nothing less but the continuation of its old philosophy. This action consists of evading the responsibilities of a normal opposition in a democratic system which has to do with the representation of the opposition voters in parliament.
At the start of the new parliamentary season, the opposition has not participated in any of the three parliamentary debates held so far. Its biggest “finding” to compensate for this intentional action was to move the meetings of the opposition parliamentary group on the same day and the same hour in the main cities of Albania.
From a tactical point of view, this approach is not a mistake in itself, because by meeting people where they are and listening to their problems and concerns, is a good step in the right direction.
However, what makes this political action a total failure is the fact that the opposition has done this in order to offer a political show, because these meetings were not held with ordinary people and opposition voters, but with the TV cameras.
Abandoning the vetting of politicians
At the start of this new political and parliamentary season, which also coincides with the local government elections, the only thing that the opposition has offered is a new cause. It has proposed a new draft, which, according to the opposition, enables a screening process for politicians, in order to remove all those who have connections with the underworld.
In principle, this is a step in the right direction, bearing in mind the fact that the justice system and police too are undergoing a screening process. The project which has been introduced by the opposition has not been considered to be as a serious initiative.
The majority led by PM Edi Rama has declared that given that the proposal that the DP has come up with requires constitutional amendments, its interpretation should be sent to an institution which has always played the role of an unbiased referee when dealing with issues of this nature and this institution is the Venice Commission. In many other cases, the opinion of this commission has been very effective in reconciling political sides in Albania.
However, so far, our opposition has not reacted positively to this. This time too, its aim is to avoid an opinion by the Venice Commission. Why though? The answer has come from our strategic ally, the United States of America.
In her visit a few days ago, the US State Department senior official, Elisabeth Millard declared that the key for the realization of the vetting process for Albanian politician is to set up two new key institutions for the new justice system: SPAK and BKH. According to her, once these two institutions are done with screening judges and prosecutors, they could also screen politicians, ministers and the heads of administration.
Therefore, it goes without saying that any other proposal is to avoid the vetting process and not the contrary.
The opposition a day later
After the declaration made by Mrs. Millard for the Albanian media, the opposition leadership has started to withdraw from its proposal on vetting. We just need to wait and see what will happen with the draft in the days to come.
However, in spite of what the opposition wants us to believe, its political action has two problems. First, its political action is not only taking place outside of the institutions, but it is also failing to meet its true scope: meeting ordinary people and listening to their problems. Secondly, besides the lack of support by the public, the opposition’s action is also lacking support by the international community.
Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy