June 26, 2017
Albania’s political culture is neither free, fair nor democratic.
While western mainstream media attempts to portray the 25th of June parliamentary elections in Albania as free and fair, the more apparent reality is being ignored.
The elections with monumentally low official turnout of 42%, said to be the lowest in the history of post-Communist Albania, have been marred by violence and controversy.
Months of protests from the opposition Democratic Party and non-aligned anti-corruption protesters seem to have done nothing to oust the neo-liberal, pro-imperialist, pro-NATO Socialist party (however ironically named) of Edi Rama. It was only a US brokered deal which allowed elections to go ahead after months of internal stalemate due to protests.
According to poll projections that given the patently unfair nature of Albanian elections will probably correspond to the official results, Rama’s Socialists are set to win an outright majority in the parliament. One must note that in spite of low voter turn-out in a country with a small population it has taken a significant period of time to count votes. This is often a key indication that the results are being doctored.
The biggest scandal in Albania is not that local mafia lords brazenly employ voter intimidation tactics, it is not that opposition protests have been ignored by the ruling faction, it is not that the Prime Minsiter has handed the Presidency to a man he once called “rotten”, it is not even that Albania has ISIS terrorists, Gulenist terrorists, and anti-Tehran MEK terrorists operating on soil: the biggest scandal is that the western mainstream media do not question the legitimacy of elections in such a state.
During the second-half of the 20th century, many of the overtly communist states of the Warsaw Pact did in fact hold multi-party elections, although the western mainstream media of the day rarely reported this fact. Instead, according to the western mainstream media, such elections (when rarely acknowledged) were worthless because of the overall communist nature of Warsaw Pact member states.
In the 1960s, Albania exited the Warsaw Pact due to the extreme version of communism advocated by Albanian leader Enver Hoxha. In the 1970s, Albania’s relationship with China also came to an end as China opened up its doors to the United States during the Nixon era, leaving Albania on its own.
This left Albania as one of the most isolated countries in the world, more so than even North Korea in many respects.
Today’s Albania is hardly more democratic than it was during Enver Hoxha’s time but it is far more violent both internally and in respect of the threats Albanian leaders make to its neighbours.
Prior to the election, Edi Rama threatened to annex parts of Serbia if Albania was not allowed into the EU. All of this came as anti-corruption protesters demanded Rama’s resignation before elections were to begin.
Albania has gone from an impoverished hermit state to an ultra-corrupt mafia state, built on top of a naro-state, all the while encouraging racially motivated imperial policies which threaten the territorial integrity of its neighbours including Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and even Greece. The plan for Greater Albania which aims to have Tirana annex parts of each aforementioned state has strong support in a country which can barely support itself in its existing borders.
But NATO and the EU tend to look the other way. If anything, Brexit has made the EU even more willing to overlook Albania’s culture of hyper-corruption as the EU looks keen to replace Britain among its ranks.
The levels of crime and corruption in Albania would never be tolerated by NATO or the EU if Albania’s foreign policy didn’t serve as a proxy of NATO/EU ambitions for the Balkans. If Albania had the kind of isolationist foreign policy it did in the 1970s and 1980s, one would see the western mainstream media filled with stories of ultra-violence, and lack of democracy which are in fact rampant in Albania’s chaotic internal affairs.
Had a deeply unpopular party secured re-election amid low voter turn-out, voter intimidation and after months of protests in a country that isn’t a NATO state and an aspiring EU member, the mainstream media in Europe and the US would be calling for a ‘Maidan on the Adriatic’. But there will be no Maidan in Albania, because Albania has already become as corrupt as Ukraine has become since the 2014 coup. Most importantly, it has become equally if not even more pro-NATO. Unlike Ukraine, Albania is a fully fledged member of the US led alliance. At the end of the day, this is all that matters to the west.