Editorial: A solution rooted in legitimacy

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 20, 2019 09:21

Editorial: A solution rooted in legitimacy

Story Highlights

  • Make no mistake about the apparent temporary calm: the crisis is continuing to rage silently and erode the democracy, economy and hope of Albanian young people. The need for a turning point is as immediate as in the days of violent protests if not even more so.

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TIRANA TIMES EDITORIAL

Democratic systems do not rule out crises. They have mechanisms to solve them. Every solution is based first and foremost in legitimacy since fair representation is at the core of the functionality of democracy.

The situation in Albania is overdue for a solution now that all the sides have laid down their ‘revolutionary’ claims and there seems to be a temporary lull with a potential to seek an agreement. In full tranquility and normalcy they can and they should move towards a new seeking of legitimacy. The existing parliament of Albania is not legitimate. It has neither the quantity nor the quality of a normal assembly. The so called opposition taking the seats there is neither complete nor voted in. They do not have any mandate to go forward approving strategic reforms or even basic laws for the future of the country.

The way out of this is a round of general elections to reestablish the stakeholders’ standpoints, reinvigorate the institutions with new democratic mandates and reposition the political forces in a course that is more in line with the priority of European integration. General elections should no longer be feared as a major disruption. They happen routinely in all functioning democracies whenever a prolonged crisis fails to resolve by other means. The majority does not have anything to lose or to fear. It should welcome the chance to understand whether the voters still stands for them. It has a lot to gain showing a spirit of compromise and vision for the whole country.

The majority can seek the help of the institution of the President in this enterprise instead of fighting him in an absurd battle that undermines even further the already distraught system of checks and balances.

There is only one condition for this mechanism to work. Elections should be preceded by the Electoral Reform whose first and most important priority should be the decoupling of politics from organized crime. The Electoral Reform sought after with much dedication nowadays even by the international community should be have the full engagement and agreement of the real stakeholders.

The opposition should reconsider its refusal to sit at the table of the electoral reform especially if the signals of compromise materialize even further. One of them is the potential replacement of the current SP Commission Chair who offered to resign in order to aid the dialogue. The Electoral Reform should be used creatively to put in place a number of safeguards that would shield the electoral process in its wholesomeness from criminal and political interference.

Make no mistake about the apparent temporary calm: the crisis is continuing to rage silently and erode the democracy, economy and hope of Albanian young people. The need for a turning point is as immediate as in the days of violent protests if not even more so.

General elections have the potential to open up new dialogue and cooperation paths also for changes in the local government which is now deprived of any control with the lack of opposition mayors or even council members.  As the well-known religious figure, father Gjergj Meta, simultaneously a social issues promoter, encapsulates in his excellent quote: “During all these years municipalities and municipal councils in Albania despite being governed autocratically were at least pluralistic in composition. From now on they are not, not even formally. Within themselves and throughout the Albanian territory they are run by a monist system. This cannot be called a democracy not even formally.

A solution rooted in legitimacy is what the crisis needs. Most importantly it can signal that Albania, now so close to the milestone of opening accession negotiations to the European Union, has the capacity to uphold the European standards of democracy.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 20, 2019 09:21