Government Issues Orders to Protect Neutrality of the Administration

After a few weeks of unclarity about the implications of the McAllister+ agreement between opposition leader Lulzim Basha and Prime Minister Edi Rama regarding the neutrality of the administration during the electoral campaign, the Council of Ministers approved today a decision (VKM) outlining strict guidelines for the behavior of civil servants and officials, one of the main demands of the opposition.

According to the VKM, civil servants (including police officers), are prohibited from attending political activities related to the electoral campaign during their working hours. Outside working hours they are allowed to do so, but with restrictions. A civil servant taking part in a political or campaign event after working hours is not allowed to:

  • campaign for an electoral subject;
  • to show up with signs, slogans, or any other written means that is publicly exhibited;
  • to be a protagonist in political activities.

Moreover, police officers are prohibited from being party members, supporting any political party, or taking part in or contributing to the electoral campaign or political organization. Similar restrictions are in place for the Republican Guard, Secret Services, and military personnel.

Using public goods, administrative actions, or human and financial resources of the state for political campaigning is equally prohibited under the VKM.

Furthermore, state institutions have been prohibited from initiating new public procurement procedures, concession, or public–private partnerships unless necessary for the daily functioning of the institution. Any exception has to be approved by the Prime Minister. Similarly, the Council of Minister will refrain from discussing any new concessions or government contracts during the campaign period.

The different state institutions and ministries have been charged with monitoring the implementation of these measures, and a top-level task force headed by Deputy Prime Minister Ledina Mandia has been set up that includes the following officials:

  • Minister of Interior Affairs
  • Minister of Defense
  • Minister of Finance
  • Minister of Education and Sports
  • Minister of Justice
  • Minister of State for Relations with Parliament
  • Minister of State of Local Issues
  • Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers
  • Director of the Department of Public Administration
  • Director-General of the State Police
  • Director of Prevention and Money Laundering, Ministry of Finance

The following officials have been invited as observers:

  • Commissioner for the Oversight of the Civil Service
  • National Ombudsman
  • Representative from the General Prosecution
  • Representative from the Central Election Commission

The aim of the task force is

taking measures and monitoring of the activity, behavior, or usage of human, financial, and logistical resources of the state administration […] with the aim of promoting neutrality and the equal treatment of political party candidates in their relations with the state administration and its resources […] as well as the abuse of public funds and resources for party purposes.