Albania Government and Politics

State and politics

Albania Country Flag


Since 1992, Albania has been a democratic republic with a single-chamber parliament. As early as 1991, the former Stalinist constitution, which designated the Albanian Workers’ Party as the only permissible change, would be delayed until November 1998 before Albania adopted a new constitution.

In 1994, in which the Democratic Party had a strong majority, the Parliament adopted a new constitution that would significantly strengthen the president’s powers. However, this was rejected in a referendum the same month.

In connection with the elections following the Albanian state collapse in June 1997, a referendum was held on the possible reintroduction of monarchy, but this was also rejected by about 65 percent of the votes.

The constitutional issue became one of the truly poisoned issues after the Socialists won a majority in Parliament in June 1997, and the Democratic Party boycotted all cooperation on a new constitution and, during periods, other work in Parliament. In October 1998, Parliament passed a new constitution, and the following month it was accepted in a referendum. Some changes and additions have been made thereafter, including an amendment to the Electoral Act 2008 and a comprehensive reform of the courts in 2016.

Parliament has 140 members. These are selected proportionally for a period of four years; in the past, 100 were elected by majority vote, while 40 seats were distributed proportionally between the participating parties. Since 2009, a party must receive 3 percent of the votes against the previous 2.5 percent, election alliances 5 percent against the previous 4 percent – a clear advantage for the major parties.

Since 2008, according to the Equality Act on decision-making items, there must be at least 30 percent women. The law has not been followed even though the gender representation has been leveled out slightly later.

The president, who is head of state and commander-in-chief, has a ceremonial role and is elected by a minimum of 3/5 majority of parliament for a maximum of two five-year terms.

At the local level, Albania is divided into twelve counties, which in turn are divided into municipalities. As of the 2014 reform, the number of municipalities was reduced from 310 to 61. Local elections are held every three years.


There is a strong polarization between the two major parties that have been in power: on the one hand the Socialist Party, PS, with roots in the old Communist Party and most supporters in southern Albania, and on the other the Democratic Party, PD, founded in 1990 by students and intellectuals and are most successful in the north.

The ideological differences between them are not that great. The contradictions are mainly on the personal level. Within the PS, a generation gap has been clear; The exchanges have been many on the party leader post and the quarrels within the party have led to outbursts.

Before the 2013 parliamentary elections, the opposition between the parties was bitter. A conflict arose over the composition of the electoral commission, the reliability of the voting lists were questioned and accusations were made about voting. Like previous elections, the upcoming parliamentary elections were seen as a test of how mature Albania was in order to enter into membership negotiations with the EU.

Despite great political contradictions, the parties’ election promises were similar: both promised economic growth, tax reform and new jobs. Both were also hot advocates of continued EU integration.

Valalliances were formed around the two major parties. The ruling Democratic Party joined with 24 other parties in a center-right bloc. The Socialist Party formed an opposition alliance with 36 parties.

Both sides quickly exclaimed victors. When the official result was clear, it turned out that the Socialist Party’s alliance won by over 57 percent of the vote, compared to just over 39 percent for the government alliance. After a few days, Sali Berisha, who has been prime minister since 2005, admitted to being defeated. This reduced the risk of continued concern. After the 2009 elections, the socialists had refused to approve the result and for the most part boycotted the work in Parliament for two years thereafter. After the 2013 election loss, Berisha resigned as party leader. He was succeeded by Lulzim Basha (born 1974).

Local elections were held in 2015. A large election alliance led by the ruling socialist parties won 63 percent of the vote and secured the mayor’s post in 45 municipalities, while the majority of the remaining votes and items went to an alliance dominated by the bourgeois Democratic Party. Women won nine mayoral positions, as did 35 percent of council seats.

The political situation before the June 2017 parliamentary elections was unsettling. This was reflected in the opposition’s boycott of parliamentary work. It called for a transitional government, which also included the opposition, to be established, which they believed was the only way to make fair elections. Through mediation by the US and the EU, the opposition was partially heard for their demands and the elections could, somewhat delayed, be carried out without major problems.

The Socialist Party and Edi Rama (born 1964) gained further confidence in the elections and, through a convincing victory, were able to form government on their own. The Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI), which came in third place in the 2017 election after the Socialist Party and the Democratic Party, did not get a seat in the government. Since LSI’s party leader and founder Ilir Meta 2017 was elected president, his wife, Monika Kryemadhi (born 1974) was elected as his successor. Meta, who was Prime Minister from 1999 to 2002, succeeded Bujar Nishani (born 1966) of the Democratic Party.

Women have traditionally had a hidden role in politics. After the 2017 parliamentary elections, there were 32 female MPs (about 22 percent), thus fewer than the country is required by law. Of the government’s 14 ministers, however, half were women.

International cooperation

Albania, which during the communist period was characterized by an almost hermetic closure and isolation from the outside world, has changed drastically since the beginning of the 1990s. Having previously been a member only in the UN, the country is now a member of several international cooperation organizations. The goal of Albanian politicians since the fall of communism has been EU membership and membership in the NATO defense alliance; on this, there has been great agreement between the Albanian political parties.

In April 2009, the country was also accepted as a full member of NATO. In June 2014, Albania was accepted as a candidate country for the EU and in November 2016, the EU Commission recommended that membership negotiations be opened with Albania as soon as the legal reform adopted that year also came into force.

See also Albania: (History).


During Communist times, Albania had created a legal system according to Soviet models from the Stalin era. After the fall of the communist regime, a legal system was begun to be built to suit the needs of the market economy. The death penalty was finally abolished in 2007. Already in 2000, this penalty had been abolished for most crimes.

Human Rights

When the European Council in 2014 approved Albania as a candidate country for EU membership, the country’s application was conditional on the incorporation of a number of legal reforms. Corruption permeates all strata of society and is also one of the areas that the European Council has identified as emergency, in particular the country’s authorities but also the judiciary and health care. The corruption, among other things, causes the country to fail in the implementation of its legislation.

Albanian society is strongly patriarchal, mainly in the countryside and in the northern parts of the country. Rape within marriage falls within the penal code but is almost never prosecuted. The Albanian woman is subordinate to the man and forced marriage occurs. In the 2009 parliamentary elections, the female proportion of parliamentarians increased to 16 percent, from the previous 7 percent.

The Roma part of the population is being discriminated against and in 2014 the country lacked a functioning anti-discrimination policy. Domestic violence, together with discrimination against women, is one of the country’s most serious human rights problems. The country is both a country of origin and destination for men, women and children who are subjected to human trafficking for sexual purposes and forced labor. Failure to comply with these human rights causes thousands of Albanians to seek asylum annually in neighboring EU countries. The majority of those who applied for asylum in EU countries state reasons for domestic violence as well as discrimination and persecution of LGBTQ people and Roma.

The situation for the country’s children is substandard and homeless children live on the streets, most Roma. A citizen becomes a criminal officer at the age of 14-16, depending on the crime the child has committed. Although the government has made efforts to improve the rights of the children, much remains to be done.

The police use force, which can be seen as a result of a poorly functioning legal system where police work in difficult conditions, suffer from lack of education and equipment and are poorly paid. The country’s detention centers are often overcrowded and often constitute a violent environment. Homosexuals, Roma and Egyptians who are arrested are particularly vulnerable to police violations.

Heads of state

1914 Prince Wilhelm of Wied (regent)
1914-25 Four regents without safe control of the country
1925-28 Ahmed Zogu
From 1928 Ahmed Zogu held the title of King (Zog I).
1928-39 Zog I
1939-43 Viktor Emanuel III
(the country occupied by Italy)
1946-48 Enver Hoxha
1948-53 Omer Nishani
1953-82 Haxhi Lleshi
1982-92 Ramiz Alia
1992-97 Sali Berisha
1997-2002 Rexhep Meidani
2002-2007 Alfred Moisiu
2007-12 Bamir Topi
2012-17 Bujar Nishani
2017- Ilir Meta

Albania Head of Government

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