Editorial: Organized crime at the heart of the political modus operandi

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 7, 2019 07:43

Editorial: Organized crime at the heart of the political modus operandi

Story Highlights

  • However the standing majority is more concerned about the leaks as a break in the procedure of conserving the investigation privacy than about the evidencing of the crime itself. The leak that identifies and sheds lights over these links between crime and politics is in the interest of the public and therefore cannot be intimidated with the rhetoric of punishing those who made it happen.

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TIRANA TIMES EDITORIAL

The communications interceptions published by the German media Bild shed light over an intricate network of links between organized crime and politics that function with clockwork precision. The flow of the decision making goes back and forth between the gang masters who point out who should hold office, work to make it happen via all the illicit ways and then reap the rewards. The local politicians under the supervision and guidance and approval of their masters keep an ongoing communication intertwined with ghastly pet name calling and affection displays.

The intercepts are very clear: the Avdylaj mafia clan active in the entire Durres region have chosen their man, Ilir Ndraxhi, to be a member of parliament under the SP logo and have used intimidation methods and illicit money to make him win. The fact is that Ndraxhi is in the parliament to the present day and nothing has ever been heard from him until these articles were made public. The list of MPs of the Rilindje group coming directly from organized crime syndicates and representing their interests therefore increases by at least one verified name.   In the Albanian electoral system the responsibility for choosing the candidates and their places in the running lists rests with one person only: the head of the party currently the Prime Minister.

These intercepts deliver a hard blow on the legitimacy of the government itself. Durres, a highly prized constituency for its national port, a documented hub of narco-trafficking, is certainly not the only place where this kind of mafia dynamics is in place. After the first mandate Rilindje under the guise of the Socialist Party won 74 mandates. It is clear now that their decisive difference which gave them the mandate was made up with the names chosen by organized crime. Some of them, directly implicated in crimes, have been forced to resign with the decriminalization law. Some like Ndraxhi still stand.

In subsequent calls we understand how hardcore criminals, sentenced for the harshest crimes wield decisive influence on the drafting and ranks of the electoral lists, threaten and manipulate voters in order to generate specific outcomes, boast about it to party heads, have full information on the agenda of local and national politicians and finally have at their disposal all the public institutions to deal with them at their hearts’ content.

The entire array of institutions and their heads: property registration offices, aqueduct management companies, municipalities mentioned in these communications are the fabric of whole communities. The calls indicate the pressure on the lower employees to vote in exchange for keeping their jobs, the pressure on mayors and property offices to deliver for the gangsters, to change their agendas, to walk the line. And then Election Day is just Show Time.

This is not the first time this scheme is put under the limelight. Not the first time its actors shrug off these allegations as being routine conversations with their constituents.   However this does seem like the straw that breaks the camel back. In the midst of this political crisis whose core nexus is about the freedom and legitimacy of elections, in the midst of the indifference and inertia that the international community present in Albania is showing, in expectance of a major decision about the EU integration path of the country, this publication is the last chance to serve as a wakeup call.

However the standing majority is more concerned about the leaks as a break in the procedure of conserving the investigation privacy than about the evidencing of the crime itself. The leak that identifies and sheds lights over these links between crime and politics is in the interest of the public and therefore cannot be intimidated with the rhetoric of punishing those who made it happen.

The intricate and almost organic links that have grown between crime and politics and that stem from the nefarious pact between the two around Election Day should be severed. This linkage is the original sin and the genesis of evil and renouncing it will be difficult and painful. However as long as it stands put there is no chance that the pattern of political conflict, large scale corruption and democratic degradation can ever be reversed.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 7, 2019 07:43