January as a preface for Albanian politics during 2018

January as a preface for Albanian politics during 2018
This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.afp.al

By Alfred Peza

The first week of January passed between the holiday atmosphere and the post-holiday inertia, leaving politics on the side. The SP’s caucus as an attempt to set in motion the biggest political party in Albania, the meetings that opposition leader Basha had outside the capital to set in motion the wave of protests that he has announced, Kryemadhi’s attempts to use gossip news in an attempt to forget the boot’s scene in Parliament or Ilir Meta’s half presidential and half sportsman behavior were not enough to bring back politics to the main focus.

Seeing it as a journalist, this is bad news for as long as it’s seen as good news by the people. It’s good news because after quarter of a century, tired of politics, Albanian citizens are finally willing to spend the holidays like proper holidays and not think of anything else.

Until Parliament resumes its activities, political parties will continue not to do many things. Their engines will remain turned off and they will only be turned on every once in a while, so that the battery is not discharged.

If we consider the first week of 2018 as a way of predicting what’s expected to happen with Albanian politics during the month of January or during the period of the hunt for “big fishes” or even for the remaining 11 months, it doesn’t seem to offer us anything big.

But we shouldn’t “worry” too much on this, because we might just need to see at the things that took place in the month of December, or even things which happened during 2018, such as the first decisions taken by the Prosecutor General and the decisions of the Central Election Commission on the 3rd and in particular, on the 5th of January, to revoke the mandates of two MPs, as part of the application of the law on decriminalization.

Alongside these developments, work has started to complete the new structures of the institutions which are being set up as part of the implementation of the reform in the judiciary. On the other hand, the heads of important institutions of the fight against crime in neighboring countries, especially from Italy, have arrived and will arrive in Tirana, to strengthen cooperation with their law enforcement counterparts in Tirana for the new “hunting” season”.

This is enough to understand that during the remaining 51 weeks of the New Year, Albanian politics will face the effects of a real reform of a new judiciary system, never seen before in these post-communist years. A judiciary system, which, above all, will attempt to put an end, once and for all, to the culture of impunity in the Albanian reality in general and in particular, targeting that part of the country’s corrupt and criminalized elite.

Ruining this status quo is expected to cause a new and powerful clash, which may bring unpredictable developments in justice and politics. The first effects of this turbulence, according to forecasters of future political developments, has pushed the parties to take measures by making sudden changes in the main media outlets of the country. Like never before, we have seen the departure and arrival of key journalists and hosts of TV political shows, thus preparing for a possible war between the sides.

The most damaging consequences that such situation could bring would consist of an internal political tension, which would not help Albania’s great expectation this year in relation to its integration. Due to these favorable circumstances and factors, there are realistic expectations that Albania is given a day for the launch of EU accession talks in spring. This is a much anticipated moment, which should be attributed to Albanians, first of all, but also to political sides, which have taken turns in governing the country, with their good and negative sides.

Failing to exploit this favorable moment, this favorable geopolitical situation in Brussels and Western Balkans, would be an unforgivable mistake, which will cost us many more years and other sacrifices, until we are given another opportunity like this one. Therefore, what is expected to happen in 2018 in the political aspect, must not only be left in the hands of particular political leaders or several political parties, parliamentary or not. But, there must be a contribution by every Albanian citizen, media and every other player who is able to exert positive pressure in order for the irreversible and unstoppable process of Albania’s integration not to be prevented.

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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