Albania

Population: 3 millions
Area:
28 748 km2
GDP (PPP):
32,4 billion dollar (estimate 2015)
GDP per capita (PPP):
11 900 dollar (estimate 2015)
Rate of growth:
2,7 percent (estimate 2015)
Head of state:
Bujar Nishani
Head of government:
Edi Rama

Youth politicians from Albania at the JHS Winter School in Nynäshamn, Sweden, november 2012

Albania was invaded by Mussolini during World War II. As the war ended, communist partisans under the leadership of Enver Hoxha rose to power. Hoxha subscribed to a doctrine of orthodox Stalinism. The fact that the country was never freed by foreign troops made it possible for Hoxha to form his own political system, first in alliance with Tito’s Yugoslavia, later with the Stalinist Soviet Union and in the end with Maoist China.

Ever since the fall of the iron curtain, developments in Albania has been turbulent. Democratic elections were held repeatedly and power alternated between communists and more democratically inclined forces. Lack of political continuity and dramatic shifts in public opinion are common in the Balkans. But only in Albania has this tendency developed into periods of full-blown anarchy. At the beginning of the 90s, Albania was in a crisis and hundreds of thousands of refugees fled the country by boat. A couple of years later, the country’s whole financial system collapsed in the pyramid scheme and public anger was vented by the pillaging of army depots. Roughly one million automatic weapons were looted.

The greatest threat to security is organized crime and the current government is dedicating a lot of their efforts to solving this problem. Currently, a reform package for the legal system is being discussed as a campaign has been initiated in order to accelerate long-delayed reforms. Consequently, the situation in terms of security is improving.

Freedom of speech and freedom of press are guaranteed by the constitution. Legislation on governmental transparency in Albania meets modern standards. There are several daily newspapers and other publications that appear regularly.

The Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation cooperates with the Democratic Party. The party was in government 2005-2013. During their time in government they ran a reform agenda in order to make the country free from corruption and crime against the individual freedom and rights as well as qualify the country for a membership in the EU. Since the parliamentary election of 2013 the party is in opposition. The party can be described as liberal conservative and is since the early 90’s one of the pillars of Albania’s democratic development. In July 2012 Bujar Nishani from the Democratic Party was elected President after winning a qualifying majority of the votes.

The work of the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation in Albania focuses on reinforcing the ideals of democracy, market economy, rule of law, human rights and tolerance. The Foundation offers advice on issues such as media management, policy, strategy, contact with voters and campaign strategy.

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