From: Exit Staff
Government Proposes Changes to Law on Purity of Candidates Following Communism Scandal

The Albanian Socialist Party has proposed two changes to the electoral code regarding verifying individuals for their involvement in the former communist regime.

The proposals come after former president and prime minister Ilir Meta was accused of collaborating with the communist regimes feared intelligence department.

“Our two legal initiatives consist of creating the legal basis for the verification of entities regardless of whether or not they have a previous cleanness certificate,” declared MP Klotilda Bushka, adding it is an “obligation to those who suffered” and “a responsibility for future generations”.

The proposals will remove a previous restriction that those issued purity certificates under the 1995 and 1997 Bezhani commission cannot have their certificates reviewed later. It will also force candidates to provide a certificate of purity from the Records Authority.

This means that anyone previously issued a certificate will be open to review, and anyone wanting to run as a candidate in an election must provide a new certificate from the authorities to show that they did not collaborate with state security during the regime.

The Democratic Party, headed by Sali Berisha, is against the proposals, instead asking that all security files from the era be made public.

State security or the Sigurmi functioned throughout 45 years of communism and was responsible for spying, arresting, torturing, disappearing and murdering critics of the regime. At its peak, it had a network of over 14,000 people, a spy for every 200 inhabitants or every 100 adults.

In 2015, the Socialists passed a new law under which the files were supposed to be opened. Seven years later, a minimal number of files have been made public, while archive access procedures are costly and time-consuming.

The proposed changes to the law come after former president and prime minister Ilir Meta was named by the Albanian Information Authority on Former State Security Documents (AIDSSH) for involvement with the Sigurimi.

In a document forwarded by AIDSSH to Parliament on Wednesday (27 July), the Authority confirms the identity of the high-profile political figure referred to as “I.M.” in the initial report.

“Following our previous requests and proposals, but especially being encouraged by the most recent denunciation that came to the institution on the purity of the image of one of the strongest personalities of the state, former president of the Republic, Ilir Metaj… it turns out that he appears in the documents created by the former State Intelligence Structure,” AIDSSH states.

The institution reviewed Meta’s past following a formal request to their office.

In their Tuesday report, AIDSSH asked Parliament to update current laws so that they may be able to continue their work.

Recently, AIDSSH assessed some 446 MP candidates and found that five had been Sigurimi collaborators, including Meta, according to the latest information.

Meta served as President of Albania between 2017 and 2022. He is also the co-founder of the Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI), recently rebranded as the Freedom Party. After stepping down from his post as President on Sunday, Meta was reappointed as chairman of Albania’s second opposition party.