In Albania, WFD focuses on improving the accessibility of political parties by working with their youth wings through a cross-party platform and by generating research and evidence for improving the political and national discourse. WFD Albania is also working with Civil Society Organisations to strengthen their capacities, facilitate networking and exchanges among them, and help them to better interact with different layers of governance.
WFD’s programme in Albania is part of the Western Balkans Democracy Initiative, which seeks to contribute to the development of more resilient and legitimate democratic governance throughout the Western balkans region. WFD is achieving this through engaging with entities across the democratic spectrum to strengthen their ability to fulfil their mandates and promote inclusive governance which delivers for citizens. Regionally, the programme intends to deliver stronger political parties which are more policy-focused and orientated towards voters’ needs; more effective parliamentary practice which increasingly results in better quality legislation, closely scrutinises executives and represents voters’ interests; and enhanced democratic dialogue and culture.
Albania, officially known as the Republic of Albania, is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic. Albania has an upper-middle income economy dominated by the service sector, followed by agriculture, farming, mining, forestry, fishing, quarrying, manufacturing, processing, and construction. The country went through a process of transition, following the end of communism in 1990, from a centralised to a market-based economy.
The country is a member of the United Nations, World Bank, UNESCO, NATO, WTO, COE, OSCE, INTERPOL and OIC. It is also an official candidate for membership of the European Union.
The Socialist Party, headed by Prime Minister Edi Rama, has governed since 2013. An ongoing political crisis culminated in opposition MPs relinquishing their mandates in February 2019. The country is also undergoing some state-building reforms such as the Justice and Electoral Reforms.
This initiative aims to work with the new political elite and the next generation of political parties through their youth forums. Youngsters need to have an alternative role model that can increase cooperation and open the parties to new ideas that can improve their ideology, platforms and behaviours. Working and empowering youth of the three main political forums (Socialist Party, Democratic Party and Socialist Movement for Integration) on specific topics with will contribute to: a) reducing the polarization of politics; b) capacitating youth with specific issues related to internal democrac;y and c) enabling them to claim more space within their structures. A polling on youth attitudes towards politics and important youth issues took place at the national level and provided very important findings.
The three political forums are carrying out small scale projects to address some of the issues that youngsters identified during the training sessions.
A research study of the political parties’ trends of development for the next 10 years will assist to better understand their current situation and how to address the main problems such as: a) their internal democracy and openness towards youth and women; b) their ideological platform; and c) connections with citizens’ needs. Three research studies “Political Parties -10 years from now” have been conducted for the three main parties and their conclusion and recommendations are to be shared extensively with parties’ leadership and membership to assist their future development.
This initiative aims to engage with civil society organizations working in the health sector, decision-makers at local and central levels and independent institutions.
More specifically, this initiative:
- Studies the interaction between civil society and parliament,local councils and/or independent institutions in Albania and provides recommendations for improvement;
- Strengthens the capacities of CSOs (focusing on CSOs working in the field of health) on how to better interact and be involved in legislative proceedings;
- Engages young people to analyse government data and generate easy-to -ead reports that will feed in discussions of CSOs
- Facilitates alliances/networks among CSOs, academics and the media to participate in legislative proceedings;
- Inproves the parliamentary and local councils’ and independent institutions’ practices regarding civil society involvement in legislative proceedings.