Eastern Europe at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century: A Guide to the Economies in Transition

By Ian Jeffries | Go to book overview
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Albania

POLITICS

The political background

The Democratic Party won 92 out of the 140 seats in the March 1992 general election, the Socialist Party 38, the Social Democratic Party 7, the Union for Human Rights 2 and the Albanian Republican Party 1 seat (Deutsche Bank, Focus: Eastern Europe, 1995, no. 125, p. 7).

The Berisha regime showed worrying signs of authoritarianism (see below for details and, for example, EEN, 1993, vol. 7, nos 9, 16 and 17; The Economist, 9 April 1994, p. 39).

Within four years Mr Berisha had created what Human Rights Watch last March [1997] called 'a one-party state based on fear and corruption'. He turned the justice system into a political instrument. He expanded the National Intelligence Service to a force of 3,000 agents supported by another 3,000 informers which operated as an arm of his party.

(Edward Cody, IHT, 5 August 1997, p. 7)

Since 1990 there has been a dramatic and uncontrolled exodus from highland villages to the towns. The great majority of migrants in the shanty towns (which are a health hazard) are from the northern and central highlands.

The ruling Democratic Party (DP), whose president Sali Berisha hails from the north-eastern district of Tropoja, did nothing to prevent the migration - partly because these people came from districts that are identified with the DP establishment, and secondly because it was considered opportune that DP-voting northerners should settle in the opposition's urban strongholds.

(EEN, 18 January 1996, vol. 10, no. 2, p. 7)

Government statistics suggest that the urban population has increased from 35 per cent to 44 per cent and may reach over 50 per cent by the end of 1996 (ibid.).

-67-

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