Tuesday 24 July 2012
The new President of Albania, Bujar Nishani, who was sworn into office on 24 July with the backing of a right-of-centre coalition, is intent on giving priority to reforming the country’s justice system, a long-standing demand of the EU. He also plans to put an end to the constant domestic political bickering that is slowing the accession process.
The left-of-centre opposition had accused Prime Minister Sali Berisha of trying to strengthen his hold over the judiciary and other institutions, including the prosecutor’s office and the secret services, with the election of Nishani, a former member of the head of government’s party. Since the June 2009 legislative elections, Albania has been entangled in a political crisis. The Socialist opposition refuses to recognise the outcome of the election, claiming it was “marred by fraud”. This situation has prevented the adoption of various reforms required by the EU. According to the EU executive, Albania’s justice system lacks independence, transparency and effectiveness.
“In spite of today’s divisions, EU membership is supported by 90% of Albanians and must unite all political forces,” Nishani told
AFP.Tirana has been turned down twice for applicant status. “I am optimistic that Albania will succeed in obtaining applicant status this autumn,” said Nishani.