Albania`s Democracy Challenges: External Stimuli and Internal Factors at Play
AbstractThe primary question that this paper seeks to explore is: Why Albania did not successfully democratize in the aftermath of Communism although it did not have the nation-building problems that others, from neighboring republics of former Yugoslavia to Baltic countries faced? Intuitive hypotheses would have predicted the Albanian case as a likely case of rapid democratization, given its ethnically homogeneous population of the youngest age in Europe, coming out of the most isolated communist regime with strong totalitarian tendencies. Quite the opposite, not only Albania is facing an uphill battle to democratize to the date, but the quality of political representation has worsened and currently the main debate evokes the question of decriminalization of political elite. In the eve of the 25th anniversary of regime change in Albania, this question seeks additional attention to explore the barriers Albania faced and why they have persisted for so long? In the present study I undertake a critical approach of political antagonism and I argue that the increasing authoritarian tendencies and lack of institutional bedrock as the primary factors that can explain the Albanian case synchronically from 1992 to present day. I particularly focus at certain critical junctures which I deem to have had more impact in Albania`s lack of progress. To investigate the course of events in the two countries I use both discourse and content analyses. Through process tracing I investigate particular critical juncture that I render to be more significant than others to explain shifts in Albania`s democratization process and analyze why the transition has been a challenge. The structure consists in a short overview of democratization process in Eastern Europe, then it focuses on Albania`s transition, before it continues with an emhpasizes of external constraints. It further follows with a discussion of domestic challenges before it concludes with a summary of findings.
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