After the rumbling of the political elections is left behind, the tough test of the new socialist government lies ahead. Its success will be measured by the practical results that the promised reforms will yield. The great bet is on the economy, the judicial and the anti-corruption reforms. The central issue to be addressed seems to be building up a sound structure of constitutionalism, hence the reign of the rule of law.
The magic wand is the vetting of the magistrates, but the ultimate goal is stripping the ruling class of its economic privileges. The mutual trust between the ruling class and the citizens, which is the social glue of a democratic society, seems to be fundamentally shaken by the lack of integrity of the judiciary and corruption of state officials. Thus, the reforming task of the government is to annihilate the infamous idea of corruption as a social category of thought, and as an organizing principle of state institutions.
Embarking on such a project is undoubtedly the political will of the incumbent socialist government constantly under pressure by the E.U and the U.S., but how credible is the method that it has - so far- appeared to adopt such an enterprise? It is a well-known political maxim that success in the government's action depends on how accurate is the vision in the implementation of the reforms. So far, what has been made public, reduces the reforms to fighting bureaucracy; lessening the regulatory burden on the economy, good governance; rationalizing public services; reducing corruption to the problem of dishonest individuals or “rotten apples” working in the public sector. We know very well that corruption in Albania is institutional and even systemic. We cannot turn a blind eye to the unfortunate fact that many politicians or heads of state institutions turn out to be extremely rich.
First, we need to start by analyzing how and why these people are able to act for personal gain, and to stay afloat after every attempt to reform the society and the state. How can Albania afford to have the same elite, responsible for the prolonged transition, which has made rule of law and market based economy a mockery?
How was it possible that state licenses, administrative authorizations, and public procurement have created a ‘black market” for official favors and “rents”.
The government approach can be criticized based on questionable assumptions and none of them are adequate for understanding the complexity of the relationships involved on substantial reforms.
The aim of the reforms should be to move the terrain on which the politics are fought from the economy to the realm of ideology and state institutions which are constrained by the rule of law.
Our society should be able again to distinguish between the public and the private sector. But to achieve this goal it is indispensable that every politician or state official must “disgorge” his ill-gotten profits from corruption. The government should set-up an agency whose primary duty is the recovering of all the public assets seized by corruption. In other words, destroying the false power, prestige and symbolic authority of the political and state cleptocracy.