The Platform

Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama. (NATO)

Western officials have more or less sanctioned democratic backsliding in Albania.

In the realm of international relations, Tirana, Albania’s capital, emerges as the atypical example of housing foreign diplomats that constantly interfere in the domestic politics of Albania. In looking at other European capitals, it is difficult to find a behavior of foreign diplomats that is similar to the officials operating in Tirana. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Diplomats and dignitaries representing the European Union, the European Commission, and Western countries have a poor understanding of Albanian domestic politics. They fail to grasp that Tirana has become Europe’s capital of voter fraud, where Prime Minister Edi Rama has gone to great lengths to remain in power.

Albania is not a wealthy country; however, this has no correlation with the level of intelligence of its people or their appreciation of Western values. In late June of 1991, hundreds of thousands of Albanians took to the streets of Tirana to greet Secretary of State James Baker. They could be heard chanting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” Baker went on to implore Albanians that “freedom works” and encouraged the Albanian people to move forward toward democracy.

Albanians are not incompetent; they elect public officials based on their political preferences and foreign interference is not welcome, diplomatic engagement in these matters always produces blowback.

It is evident that Albanians in Albania and Kosovo are very smart in electing their representatives, although foreign envoys have employed every diplomatic tool against Albin Kurti in Kosovo and against high democratic standards in Albania. While Albin Kurti was elected for a second time in Kosovo, contrary to the desire of Western diplomats; in Albania, we have the reelection of Edi Rama for a third time, a somewhat successful outcome in the eyes of diplomats and an unfortunate consequence because Western envoys have allowed and certified a one-party electoral process in the heart of Europe. Albania’s democratic transition has been turned into a one-party system. In the last decade, democratic processes have been eroded under the nose of the very same diplomats that are scoffing at Albanians.

Albanians cherish the genuine trust and sincere support from international partners; however, current Western diplomats are tarnishing this trust and sincerity that was built immediately after Secretary Baker’s official visit to Albania. He was a visionary statesman that welcomed Albania into the democratic world; today we are witnessing Albania’s descent into the abyss of a single-party regime.

Peter Marko Tase is the author and editor of twelve books about Paraguayan history and foreign policy. He writes extensively about Latin America; the foreign policy, culture, and history of the Republic of Azerbaijan (including the economy of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan) and has published many essays about Albania and the region of southeast Europe.