Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Justice and Economy Test Albania’s Fraying Coalition

EU and US support seem likely to guarantee eventual adoption of major changes to the justice system – but the ruling coalition will continue to struggle with internal rifts and a stagnant economy.

Aleksandra Bogdani
 Albanian parliament | Photo:

The US ambassador to Albania, Donald Lu, has intensified meetings with local leaders lately in an effort to secure the votes needed in parliament for the passage of a radical reform to the justice system in the spring.

Lu, who has been called the “godfather” of the reform by the local media thanks to his tirades against corrupt judges, needs 94 votes in favour of the bill in the assembly of 140 MPs.

The ambassador has taken on the role of negotiator with political leaders and justice officials who still oppose the proposed changes to the system, which is widely perceived as corrupt. 

“There are people who are afraid of losing their jobs and dirty money,” Lu said at a year-end public appearance. “These people are afraid of going to prison. Maybe they should be afraid,” he added.

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