Political alternation and governance in the government transition
Albania is the only European country that can boast the primacy of having two Prime Ministers and two governments at the same time, but also two opposition leaders and two oppositions. The situation on the political and institutional profile seems surreal or if anything a false problem, but the anomaly of the whole Albanian can occur symbolically for at least two months every four years and is due to the duration of the governmental transition in the event of political alternation and to the bad government that derives from it.
As for the last round of elections in which the outgoing center-right majority lost the elections, from the E-day to the establishment of the new government, 80 will pass by, the day 23 was voted on, June the results were proclaimed the 6 August, the new parliament was convened the next September 9 and if all is to be sent the government can gain the trust and swear before the President of the Republic by the next day. Instead eight years ago, when the Democrats of Sali Berisha won the elections, then ruling for two consecutive terms, the transition lasted exactly 69 days: from 3 July to 10 September 2005.
The alternations in history
In 23 years of democratic fragility, in Albania there were four political alternations: March 1992, June 1997, July 2005 and June 2013. The first two were determined by internal dynamics of extraordinary magnitude, however the duration of the governmental transition is minimal. The alternation of the 1992 - just one year after the first multi-party elections - is due to the historical-political context: the Democratic Party wins the early elections against the socialists still very much in collusion with the regime. The new government is established fifteen days after the runoff and is the first since the second post-war period without the communist nomenclature. Instead the alternation of the 1997 - one year after the disputed elections of May 1996 - is due more to the socio-economic context: the socialists win the early elections after the thud of the financial institutions that had sent the savings of the citizens into smoke and brought the country on the brink of civil war. The Nano government begins its mandate fifteen days after the runoff and the first act of the Albanian parliament is the abolition of the state of siege, commonly known as "curfew".
From the 1997 there have been no more early elections, but in four out of five elections the losers have always challenged the results by implementing extreme forms of parliamentary obstructionism and a tough opposition - obviously - with the intention of obtaining early elections. The center-right opposition line in the next legislature is to be seen, but the papers discovered so far do not promise a change of course. For its part, the international factor interested in the political stability of the country has always tried with a blow to the circle and one to the barrel to put in line majority and opposition. In fact, the only elections positively evaluated by international bodies also coincide with the two political alternations that occurred eight years apart. In the 2005, after two legislatures in the government the socialists passed the hand to the Democrats to take it back in the 2013. In both alternations, the duration of the government transition, as already mentioned, has grown enormously: from fifteen days in the 1997 we have switched to 69 in the 2005 and even - more a day less - to the 80 of the 2013.
The duration of the transition in the legislation
The main cause of this involution is the management of the electoral process after the E-day. The parties use the institute of the appeal or the Electoral Commission to try to overturn the result without success and from the 2001 the proclamation of the final results lasts for at least seven weeks. The most glaring example are the 2001 elections in which we voted for five consecutive rounds: the 24 June for the first, the 8 July for the runoff, the 22 July, the 29 July and the 19 August for the repetitions of vote in some circumscriptions. However, until the 2005 elections, the duration of the governmental transition in the legislation was substantially in line with the constitutional practice of many European countries: the mandate of the parliament ended with the first meeting of the new which was to be convened within twenty days of the elections and the Prime Minister had to gain the trust within ten days of his appointment.
In the 2005, after winning the elections, the center-right coalition has repeatedly asked the President of the Republic to convene the parliament even though the process of appeals has not been completed. The Democrats were also worried about a possible backlash of the Socialists who had appealed for the repetition of the elections in thirty of the hundred single-member constituencies and continued to maintain that the result could be of substantial equality. The interpretations were discordant, but the President of the Republic Alfred Moisiu wanted to respect the deadline for appeals to convene the parliament in the first 2 September 2005 meeting. Instead, the government began its mandate after eight days.
With the constitutional amendments of the 2008, the two major parties PS and PD wanted to codify in a rigid sense also the duration of the governmental transition. The mandate of the parliament is exactly four years from its first meeting and the new cannot be convened before this deadline. Moreover the constitution refers to the electoral law the determination of the periods for the conduct of the elections that in the current one are from 15 March to 30 June and from 15 September to 30 November. In concrete terms: the last parliament was convened for the first time the 7 September 2009 so the new cannot be convened before the 8 September 2013 and the last day for the elections could be Sunday 30 June 2013.
In short, according to the regulations, in this election round, from the E-day to the constitution of the new parliament it took a minimum of 68 days. We already know that the 2017 political elections will require a minimum of 79 days. To which - in both cases - in order to obtain the duration of the governmental transition, the days until the oath of the new government must also be added. In theory, it would be a false problem if the Albanian one were a consolidated political and institutional system in which the period of governmental transition is also regulated. In practice, this is a country where the Prime Minister accepts defeat, congratulates the opponent, praises the election standards set by his government, but firmly maintains that the opposition has won the election thanks to fraud and schemes refined criminals. Former Prime Minister Fatos Nano did it in the 2005 and even the outgoing Prime Minister Sali Berisha is at home there, politically delegitimizing the whole system.
Government transitions: common aspects
The 2005 and 2013 government transitions have many elements in common, if not identical, ranging from ridiculous aspects to financial and political ones that directly affect the functioning of the system, effectively blocking the governance of the country. The Prime Minister rules and speaks as if he were in the opposition and the opposition leader speaks and warns publicly as if he were in government. This was demonstrated by Berisha and Rama as opposition leaders and also by Prime Minister Berisha, a little less Nano than others. To make the context more surreal, the hawks of the respective camps think about it, which are unleashed against each other in ridiculous assumptions and serious accusations about alleged trafficking, abuse of office and past and future conflicts of interest.
For example, the 17 August 2005, about a month and a half after the elections, Berisha then still leader of the opposition and prime minister in pectore declared that the outgoing majority was taking advantage of the period of governmental transition "to dissipate hundreds of millions of lek's public funds, appropriating and privatizing many public facilities ..., making tons of files containing one's sins disappear, deciding decisions in violation of the budget law ". And he promised to review all the resolutions and cancel the non-regular ones starting from the privatization of Albtelecom, endorsed by the Nano government the day after the elections.
Today, the scenario that presents itself is the same. The socialists denounce cases of abuse with privatizations and concessions, government decrees that they will want to review and cancel if in violation of the law. The Prime Minister in pectore Rama publicly asked the Berisha government to "enter into a phase of foster care", to have an eye on finances, not to abuse the common good and not to take decisions that could collide with the coalition program of the center-left.
Instead the outgoing majorities have claimed to operate in the full of their functions until the end of the mandate, trying to delegitimize the action of the opposition in the formation of the executive, the media communication on the reforms and the program of the new government. They also cried out to fraud, broken promises and mass layoffs in the government's public administration that had not yet been established.
This unhealthy conflict in the political and media discourse is reflected in the institutions and the public administration as guarantor of their functioning. In fact, politics has always undermined the autonomy and consolidation of public administration know-how, discrediting it as politicized against the opposition and using it through political nominations to the government. Basically, it is an army of precarious workers and a smaller number of "civil servants" whose status is regulated by law, but even the latter find themselves precarious in the face of political alternation. And the uncertainty generated combined with the lack of interest or intentionality of the rulers in office affects governability. As a result, in both periods of governmental transition the administration's revenues and operations have decreased, debt has been used to finance current expenditure, real and perceived crime have increased, illegal building on public lands and private individuals or others, and any other activity on which the state can exercise any power.
Get out of the stall
Compared to the Democrats in the 2005, this year the Socialists introduced the Office of the Prime Minister Elected. In public communications the electoral campaign logo was replaced with the new one and some actions had a strong media impact. Thus, the Prime Minister-Elected wanted to promote a website for the establishment of an archive of human resources available to work in public administration. And also another on the illegal construction in which citizens can report abusive buildings by uploading photos and videos. The composition of the executive was presented the 30 last July and two weeks later the elected Council of Ministers met in Vlora in an armored media meeting. Obviously all actions stigmatized by the outgoing majority that shouts to the coup and to the revenge of the interest groups also criminals linked to the center-left coalition.
In fact, as the socialists themselves have publicly stated, their initiative is based on the model of "The Office of President Elect" set up by Obama in the 2008 in the US presidential transition phase that runs from the first Tuesday of November, election day, to the 20 January, day of the settlement. The difference is that the "President-Elect" is recognized by the twentieth amendment, the current President is called "lame duck" in slang because he loses some of his prerogatives and the presidential transition is regulated by the act that carries the same title. The Director of the General Services of the State must guarantee the President-Elect all the necessary means, funds of about five million dollars, access to government services and support for a transitional team. Furthermore, it must provide the necessary guidance and training for new government personnel.
As far as an outgoing government can wave the constitutional charter to revive the flame of the political clash during the transition period, in fact it is de-legitimized in the full exercise of its functions: the majority of the voters invested an alternative alignment, legitimized to carry on its political program. In other words, a lasting solution must be found for the future. The closest to the political tradition and the form of government to which the Albanian system refers, would be the return to the constitutional practice before 2008. The transition period is minimal and also guarantees greater governability in the event of a crisis. Because it works, the administration of the electoral process must be completed in a short time and the parties renounce the temptation to distort it at any cost. Furthermore, we should avoid voting in the middle of summer: efficiency and heat do not go well in Mediterranean countries.
Otherwise, the transition period as codified in the 2008 that can last from the 80 to the 90 days must be regulated and institutionalized to ensure the governance of the country, it must be moved from party premises to public venues and also financially supported. The new government must be in a position to get to know each other with the work of the one in office and in case of immediate need the two governments must agree on shared actions. In short, the American model teaches so much, but Albanian politics can build its own.