Evolution of the Albanian Constitution
AbstractThe history of Albanian Constitutions dates back in April 1914 with the Statute of Albania drafted by a National Committee of that time. The new Albanian Constitution was adopted by the Parliament 18 years ago and confirmed by a Referendum1, becoming the first democratic Constitution following political changes in Albania. After 1991, the stature of Albania changed significantly and the country managed to build new democratic institutions, advanced in establishing a market economy and ensuring human rights, and made important steps towards integration in Euro-Atlantic institutions. In this context, constitutional changes were normal, despite the overall misperception that the Constitution is a document that must not be amended. So, a provisional package of amendments was drafted to avoid obstacles along the way, and a new Constitution was adopted in 1998, later on amended in 2012 and 2016. Analysis of such amendments points out some problems. What should be the procedure for constitutional changes? Parliamentary vote or referendum? In this view, the 2012 constitutional changes - albeit hasty - did not affect the backbone of the document and could be introduced without a referendum, simply with a parliamentary adoption, as was the case. In contrast, the 2016 amendments were adopted unanimously, but they affected the backbone of the Constitution and therefore a referendum should have been called. Should the impact of such amendments be measured? This is another important issue that is not considered actually. But, in our opinion, monitoring any amendments by the Parliament or the President of the Republic is to the benefit of democratic developments and serves any further intentions for constitutional changes. We believe that the Constitution should clearly prescribe the procedure for constitutional changes to save them from becoming a pawn of momentary political interests.
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