By Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Extra-Legal Co-Governance Platform Launched

This morning, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced his co-governance platform website on Facebook under the title “For the Albania That We Love,” which was also the electoral slogan of the Socialist Party during the elections.

According to Prime Minister Rama, the platform of which “ordinary citizens” can become a “member” would allow their ideas, complaints, and desires to go directly “up to the government”:

For any policy, reform, or draft law; for any problem in communities or in the family that is related to the state; for any abusive behavior or any difficult relations with government offices!

By becoming the government’s “friend,” your worry can be heard or your problem can solved and you contribute directly to make this place better, by fighting together the injustices in government offices?

What is remarkable about this new platform, is that it is completely unclear what its precise relation is with the government. There is no reference to either the Socialist Party (except its title), the Prime Minister, or any ministry in particular. The website merely promises to put its registered users in direct contact with the government, seemingly outside any type of legal framework.

However, the language use on the website clearly shows the language of the Prime Minister:

“Albania That We Love” is an open communication and interaction platform with citizens, which will serve to listen to you in real time about current political issues of the government; to discuss with you reforms and important measures, by allowing your influence on government policies in every sector or about the working pace in every ministry or state institution; to fight corruption together, by picking out baking-trayers and parasites of any level and responding to them with zero tolerance; to urge and guarantee the honest solution of communal or individual problem of everyone of you.

This platform is a practical instrument of co-governance with any ordinary person, that wants to be part of the effort for Albania that we love. Albania that we love is above left and above right. The state we love is of the citizens, not of the officials. The challenges of Albania today or not Socialist challenges or Democratic challenges, but Albanian challenges.

Apparently “neither left nor right” means Edi Rama, and Edi Rama, as is clear from the website, means the Socialist Party, which lent its electoral slogan to this extra-legal platform designed for “everyone.”

As I have argued before, these initiatives, presented earlier also by Minister of Interior Affairs and former communist investigator Fatmir Xhafaj, severely undermine the rule of law in Albania.

Like in any other country, there are official complaints procedures and institutions, such as the National Ombudsman, that are mandated by the Constitution to take care of them. This guarantees the independence of the investigation and the protection of the complaining citizen. These procedures may not be optimal, the may be slow, but at least they offer basic legal safeguards.

Another of such Constitutionally mandated platforms for discussion is called Parliament. Deputies are chosen by region and paid to represent the interests and wishes of their voters. They are the ones that should “discuss reforms and important measures” on behalf of the less informed citizens. They are the ones who are paid to pay attention to “political issues” on a daily basis.

The platform launched by Prime Minister Rama, on the contrary, is without any legal framework, without any safeguard for those who complain or denounce corruption, without any transparency of who is behind this initiative, without any regulation or procedure, without archive or paper trail, without transparency or debate. Its vagueness only serves one purpose: the arbitrariness and whim of the Prime Minister.

So let us make a first denunciation. The website “Albania That We Love” is an obvious attempt to corrupt the Albanian population, to establish a clientelist relationship that doesn’t rest on the Albanian legal code but on the HTML code of yet another web-based interactive initiative destined to fail miserably. I mean, does anyone remember StopKorrupsionit.al?

“For the Albania That We Love” creates – yet again – the false hope that any Albanian citizen could have a direct influence “up there.” Rather than truly establish the conditions in which deputies would be representative of the “ordinary people,” it sets the stage for yet another collective disillusionment.