Albania’s transition, 1990-1992: U.S. support for a nascent democracy

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 8, 2017 09:48

Story Highlights

  • Despite formidable odds and zig-zags during the last 27 years, Albania’s democratic experiment has endured. Albania has undergone profound transformations and democratic norms have largely been embraced. The overwhelming majority of Albanians accept the narrative that emphasizes their nation’s historical connections to European, democratic values. A member of NATO since 2009, Albania is poised to enter next year the critical phase of accession talks with the European Union. And the current judicial reforms offer Albania an opportunity to remedy the reputational damage done by pervasive corruption and organized crime. But the transition has been challenging and most of the pillars of Albania’s democracy are still weak. More than a quarter-of-a-century after the demise of communism, the Albanian polity is characterized by semi-democratic political arrangements, superficial checks and balances, pervasive corruption, organized crime, and daunting social and economic challenges. The enduring polarizing patterns of Albanian politics, most vividly demonstrated by the inability of the country’s main leaders to forge a consensus on major issues and the propensity of the post-1990 elites to restrict free political contestation, have thwarted efforts of good governance and undermined the institutional basis of the new order.

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