Monday, June 22, 2009

Comment on Albanian Elections

Following the elections in Albania on June 28, 2009, exit polls indicated that Sali Berisha’s Democratic Party led Edi Rama’s Socialist Party with 47.5% and 38.8% respectively. For the first time in Albania's history, most international observers judged the elections to be free and fair showing a marked improvement over previous elections, though there were still some concerns. “I'm certainly happy about the progress we saw, but there is also a considerable number of issues that need to be tackled, in particular the polarized political climate," said Wolfgang Grossruck, Special Coordinator of the OSCE short-term observer mission.

The 2009 elections brought to mind - in my 1991 commentary below - my hopes for Albania when it was about to hold democratic multiparty elections for the first time after it finally freed itself from the shackles of Communism (for those of you who are interested, an Albanian-language version follows my commentary in English:

Van Christo Addendum: As of July 27, 2009, Mr Berisha's Democrat party and allies won 70 seats in the 140-seat Albanian parliament. The opposition Socialists and an ally won 66.


Pavlov's Reflexes of Freedom/Obedience
(and how they may possibly relate to the upcoming elections in Albania)

Through one of the characters in his novel "RED SQUARE," author Martin Cruz Smith discusses a phenomenon observed by Pavlov -- a reflex of freedom. Pavlov said that this reflex was the reason he was unable to produce a conditioned response in some of the dogs he studied, and he proposed that the reflex also existed in human populations. As the character in Smith's novel puts it:

"In Western societies the reflex of freedom was pronounced. In Russian societies, however, (Pavlov) said there was a dominant reflex of obedience. 'This was not a moral judgement, only a scientific observation. And since the October Revolution and seventy years of communism. you can imagine how complete that reflex of obedience has that expectations of any genuine democracy should be realistic."

It is my strong hope that the reflex of freedom will prevail in the upcoming Albanian elections. I trust that the country will persist in its drive toward complete democratization, and that it will eventually free itself completely of almost fifty years of Hoxha mind-set by enacting those reforms that would make Albania the inspirational example of true democracy in the Balkan nations.

History has been unkind to Albania since the Great Powers of 1878 reconfigured the map of Eastern Europe by ceding the major portions of the four vilayets that comprised Ethnic Albania to Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, and Greece.

By adhering to the noblest principles of democracy, and by making disparaging examples of those who do not, Albania can show Europe and the rest of the world just who the Albanians are and why they are worthy of an honored position in the community of free nations.


Reflekset e Pavllovit Per Lirine dhe Bindjen

Me ane te njeri prej personazheve te romanit te tij "Sheshi i Kuq," autori Martin Cruz Smith shqyrton nje fenomen te verejtur nga Pavllovi te quatur "refleksi i lirise." Pavllovi shrehet se ky refleks ishte arsyeja qe ai nuk mundi te gjente reagimin perkates ne disa nga qente qe ai studioi, dhe Pavllovi arriti ne perfundimin se ky refleks gjendej edhe tek njerezit. Personazhi ne romanin e Smithit shprehet lidhur me kete:

"Ne shoqerite Perendimore refleksi i lirise eshte i dukshem. Ne shoqerine Ruse, megjithate, shprehet Pavllovi, dominon "refleksi i peruljes." Ky nuk ishte nje gjykim moral, po nje vezhgim shkencor. Dhe qe nga Revolucion i Tetorit e gjate 70 vjeteve te sundimit kommunist, mund te imagjinohet se sa i plote eshte bere refleksi i sa shpresat per nje demokraci te vertete duhet te jene realiste."

Kam shpresa re medha se refleksi i lirise do te mbizoteroje ne zgjedhjet e ardhshme ne Shqiperi. Kam besim se vendi do te vazhdoje me kembengulije ecen drejte demokratizimit te plote, dhe do te zhvishet plotesist nga mentaliteti pothuajse pesedhjetvjecar i Hoxhes duke vene ne jete ato reforma qe do ta benin Shiperine shembull frymezimi te demokracise se vertete ne gjirin e kombeve te Ballkanit. Historia ka qene e padrejte me Shqiperine qe nga viti 1878 kur Fuqite e Medha rikrijuan harten e Evropes Lindore duke shkeputur pjese te medha nga te kater vilajetet qe perbenin Shqiperine Ethnike e duke ua dhene ato Malit te Zi, Serbise, Maqedonise, dhe Greqise, Duke iu permbatjtur parimeve me te larta te demokracise, e duke u bere shembull per ato qe nuk i permbahen ketre parimeve, Shqiperia mund ti tregoje Evropes dhe gjithe botes se kush jane Shqipetaret dhe perse ata meritojne nje vend nderi ne komunitetin e kombeve te lira.


At June 22, 2009 at 5:05 PM , Blogger markel2 said...

Totally agree with everything written on your comments, fellow Albanian. Today's reality tells us it is now the time to show ourselves first of all that we are capable to be members of the democratic family of Nations.The rest will follow meaning free movement, integratin and much deserved respect for the Albanian Nation in the world.
Rrofte kombi Shqiptar. Rrofte Shqiperia e vertete e Unike. Pershendetje te gjithe Shqiptareve kudo ku jane.

At June 23, 2009 at 3:15 PM , Anonymous Van Christo said...

PACE to observe the parliamentary elections in Albania

Strasbourg, 22.06.2009 - A 19-member delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), led by Corien Jonker (Netherlands, EPP/CD), will be visiting Albania from 26 to 29 June to observe the parliamentary elections, alongside observers from the OSCE and NATO Parliamentary Assemblies, and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR).

The delegation is to meet the President of the Central Electoral Commission and representatives of the political parties standing in the election, civil society and the media, before observing the ballot on 28 June in a sample of polling stations across the country.

A PACE pre-electoral delegation, visiting Tirana on 4 and 5 June, stressed that the authorities had the responsibility to take all necessary measures to provide each voter with a new ID card in order to ensure they can exercise their constitutional right on 28 June. Considering that these elections will be a test of the maturity of democracy in Albania, it also called on the authorities to fully implement the recommendations of the Parliamentary Assembly contained in its Resolution 1538 (2007).

Preliminary conclusions will be announced during a joint press conference on Monday 29 June in the Hotel International, Tirana (time to be confirmed).

Provisional list of delegation members

Statement by PACE pre-electoral mission

PACE contact: Chemavon Chahbazian, Interparliamentary Co-operation and Election Observation Unit, tel: +33 6 62 26 54 89

Press Release
Parliamentary Assembly - Communication Unit
Ref: 499a09
Tel. +33 (0)3 88 41 31 93
Fax +33 (0)3 90 21 41 34

The Parliamentary Assembly brings together 318 members from the national parliaments of the 47 member states.
President: Lluís Maria de Puig (Spain, SOC) - Secretary General of the Assembly: Mateo Sorinas.
Political groups: EPP/CD (Group of the European People's Party); SOC (Socialist Group); EDG (European Democrat Group);
ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe); UEL (Group of the Unified European Left).

At June 27, 2009 at 7:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, Van, I am posting per your suggestion:

Hello Mark
Your comments are excellent and to the point, so I urge you to post them as a COMMENT under "Comment on Albanian Elections" on Frosina's Blog for all visitors to read!

You can edit them, of course, as you see fit, but I sincerely believe they are worthy of being shared with others!
Te fala,

From: Mark Kosmo
Sent: Friday, June 26, 2009 6:41 AM
Subject: Re: [massalbanians] Coimment on Albanian Elections

Nice post. Was just talking with someone yesterday about democracy, Iran, etc... -- is democracy a basic human aspiration?? Good question and I'm not sure. In my heart, I'd like to think so, but so many places don't have it. Also, let's face it -- it is only something that comes way after basic needs are taken care of so it is down on list of priorities from human/animal perspective. We grew up in a place where it is taken for granted, but in many places it is not part of their basic mind set. Anyway, these sorts of points can be debated forever -- my heart says all people aspire to the reflex of freedom, but (like with Pavlov) I'm sure there are some dogs that are exceptions. On history being unkind to Albanians -- I suppose, but I also sometimes wonder if this was more due to Albanian ineptitude or great powers. I'm not an historian, but unity has never been an Albanian strength so it is easy to imagine that in 1878, 1912 etc... that Albanian disorganizaton could have contributed to the results. Anyway, enough with the negative -- let's hope for all the good things you mention and a brighter future. Its always possible, of course.


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