Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Democratic Change in Albania

AP Wire | 07/09/2005 | Ex-president regaining power in Albania

Until recently, Albania was the only ex-Communist country in Southeastern Europe that had not demonstrated its maturity though both a free and fair election and a peaceful transfer of power from one democratic force to another.

But now, things seems to have changed for the better.

The July 3 election wasn't picture-perfect, but it met reasonable standards. That's distinct progress.

And the result is that the government of Fatos Nano and his very divided Socialist Party will now be replaced by a government of Sali Berisha and his not unproblematic Democratic Party.

This should have no major effect on the main direction of the politics of the country. The European Union remains the long-term goal that also sets the direction for the reform policies.

One would hope that corruption will be curbed instead of just seeing a change of benficiaries. The Nano government was notoriously corrupt, and it is now up to Berisha to demonstrate that he is firm in opposing this plague of society.

Next year, the future status of Kosovo will be on the table. With his base in northern Albania, Sali Berisha is closer to that issue than Mr Nano was, although his relationship with some of the leaders in Kosovo is less than perfect.

Albania has got a decent grade through its elction. That's important.

Now it remains to be seen what grade will be given to Mr Berisha and the policies he will pursue.