Albania Leaders Mull Meeting on Judicial Reform

Balkan Insight
Fecha de publicación: 
01 Jun 2016

The leaders of Albania's two main parties, the Prime Minister and Socialist leader, Edi Rama, and Lulzim Basha, chairman of the Democratic Party, are inching towards a meeting this week to find a solution to the deadlock on judicial reform.

As the deadline for Albania to complete judicial reforms needed to open EU accession negotiations comes close to expiring, a meeting between the leaders is seen as urgent, to end the deadlock and enable parliament to pass the reform in June.

Talking in separate interviews on May 26 on Top Channel TV, both Rama and Basha said "Yes" to a journalist's question about the prospects of meeting over this reform.

On May 27, the cabinet of Prime Minister Rama asked counterparts in the Democratic Party to start negotiations about a meeting. In its reply, Basha's cabinet said the meeting can only start after May 31, as up to then Basha is participating in a European People Party forum in Luxemburg.

If the meeting takes place, the two leaders will have their first head-to-head meeting since July 2013, when Basha was elected head of the Democratic Party after its defeat in elections in June that year.

Analysts in Tirana see the meeting as necessary, to show that the political will exists to push the judicial reform forward.

Skender Minxhozi, editor-in-chief of Java News portal, told BIRN that is shameful that such meetings between political rivals are so rare in Albania.

"Every normal meeting between political opponents is welcome and they should show the ability to talk to each other in a civil way even when they do not agree," he said.

"The meeting is important, as it is almost impossible to push forward a reform that will dramatically change institutions of the country without political will," he added.

"On the other hand, through this meeting, Basha has a chance to legitimize himself as the real chairman of the Democratic Party and detach himself from [former leader] Sali Berisha's influence," Minxhozi continued.

Lutfi Dervishi, a lecturer at Tirana University, told BIRN that while the meeting is important, politicians should not use it to buy time and delay the actual reform.

"The judicial reform is more than a simple affair. It is an attempt to create a 'new pepublic', and political debate is necessary for a big change like that," he said.

"Though the negotiations should be short and to the point, in order to not lose more time, they should not be done for show, but for issue and result," he added.


Fatjona Mejdini