history Eastern_Europe ALBANIA    

 

Pandeli Majko

By Atul Agarwal

 

 

In an area slightly larger than Maryland, adjacent to the Adriatic Sea, lies Albania. A small southeastern European country, Albania has been plagued with lawlessness for over 2 years now. The economic situation of Albania can be attributed to the anarchist movements that have been occurring in Albania, and the instability of its central government. Amongst those in the Albanian government that are a dynamic part of this wave is Pandeli Majko, representative of the Socialist party.

On Saturday March 1st 1997, the leaders of the Albanian central government resigned, fearing no solution to a rage that saw no end. Former President Sali Berisha blamed the former Communists for inciting the violence. Protesters claimed that crooked investments wiped away their life savings and plunged Albania into an economic hole. Pandeli Majko, a spokesman for the Socialist movement in Albania said last year " The only solution that I see from the Democratic Party is the army solution." Apparently Majko had said this because the Democratic Party of Albania had no desire to compromise, which only meant that the fighting would continue.

 

The bloodshed was taking place mainly in Southern Albania. Vlore, a port on the Adriatic Sea was attracting the most attention, since the most severe damage had arisen from there. In a span of about five days in the month of March, 19 people were killed in the town of Vlore. Mass demonstrations had overtaken the southern part of Albania, however it was spreading to the north. The capital of Albania, Tirana, was where Parliament was located and where the protesters wanted to overtake.

With this ominous fact looming over the government officials, Socialist leader Pandeli Majko had urged President Sali Berisha in talks to agree to a new broadbased government, in an attempt to end the civil unrest in the area. However Majko said afterwards that he felt no sense of compromise from Berisha or any of the Democratic Party members. As this standstill in Parliament was going on, insurrection had gripped South Albania, where several large towns had been taken over by anti-government protesters. Approximately two weeks later, Europe and the rest of the world stood witness to the scene of civilization vanishing toward a bottomless pit. Albania was no longer a structured government with officials commanding the country, rather, total anarchy had beset the Balkan country as protesters from all over Albania had stormed into Tirana. The insurrection had no command as a liberation of a jail with 600 inmates was taking place, a sign that the government was out of power. At one point President Berisha said that he had accepted the fact that he had: no police, no army, and most importantly, no control. Having no control meant that everything that he had tried to hold on was gone and that the pleas from other state officials should have actually been considered.

 

It was Pandeli Majko, as spokesman for the Socialist party whom had urged Berisha for a more open government. The rejection of this suggestion led to the tumultuous state of Albania as it is. After the Parliamentary meeting on March 2nd, Berisha had told Majko that "they should not try to take power by arms." Majko had responded that they would not take power through blood. A day before Parliament met, a state of emergency was declared by President Berisha in an attempt to calm the situation, however Majko rebutted " It is no longer a matter of left or right, but of protecting people and stopping further blood from being shed." Regardless of how the political or economic situation was in Albania, Majko’s main concern was the end of the bloodshed that horrified the world. Berisha’s policy of an emergency state, as well as using the national police had obviously failed, directly resulting in more chaos. The only means of resolution was Majko’s solution, which was expanding the government into a broadbased one. On March 5th 1997, Majko said to the press "We told Berisha we were ready for a wide political accord under which he would stop using the army…and we would agree to form a new broad-based government." Majko’s concern was the preservation of the State of Albania, not whom was controlling it. Had Majko’s party been taken seriously, the bloodshed and outrageous violence may not have escalated to the level that it ascended to. Majko also suggested to Berisha that if a common political view were reached, then ordinary people who were on the streets fighting would have begun to dissociate themselves from the emerging turmoil. This in turn, Majko pointed out, would make it possible to point out the real terrorists.

 

Pandeli Majko should have had his ideas implemented. Tirana was soon taken over and the government that stood resigned. Albania lay in social and economic ruin. Even worse, the political parties afterwards in Albania, had no basis for negotiation after the situation had subsided. In August of 1997, on an invitation of the Democratic Party of Albania to all Albanian parliamentary parties, a round table discussion was held in which: the Democratic Party, the Legality Movement Party, the National Front Party, the Republican Party, the Social Democratic Union, the Christian Democratic Party and the Albanian Democratic Party were present, in trying to determine the future of Albania. However the five government coalitions did not take part. The table discussed the process of national reconciliation as a long-term process, with the approval of several parties. The Socialist Party, led by Pandeli Majko, refused to recognize any other institution, also citing that they refuse to participate in any other round table discussions.

Albania is still in shambles from the resulting coup. Progress is a long process but Pandeli Majko offered steps in trying to improve the economic standing of Albania. By opening up their market to the rest of the world, allows for more trade and more revenue, which is the point of a broadbased government. The economy of Albania is healing, but slowly. Had Majko’s ideas been implemented the economic development as well as the social development of Albania may not have suffered a blow of this magnitude.

 

  References

Reuters. Albania says Southern Region out of Control. Yahoo! News [web page] March 1997.

http://www.yahoo.com/headlines/special/Albania/albania.26.html
Accessed [10/2/98]

Reuters. Dozens reported dead in Albanian clashes. The Irish Times on the Web [web page] March 1997.

http://www.irish-times.com/irish-times/paper/1997/0305/fro3.html
Accessed [10/6/98]

Democratic Party of Albania. Union for Democracy. Albanian Press and Information Department. [Web page] November 1997.

http://www.albania-co.uk/dp/25nov.html
Accessed [10/09/98]

Walsh, James. Law of the Gun. Time Magazine on the Web. [Web page] March 1997; Vol. 149. No.12.

http://www.pathfinder.com/time/magazine/1997/int/970324
/europe.law_of_the_gun.html Accessed [10/10/98]

Gomez, Victor. Southeastern Europe. OMRI Daily Digest [web page] June 1996. No. 108.

http://www.b-info.com/places/Bulgaria/news/96-07/jul17.omri Accessed [10/11/98]

Associated Press. Berisha say new Govt. program…. Albanian Daily News. [Web page] November 1997.

http:// www2.albaniannews.com/albaniannews/headline/D1/text003.html Accessed [10/11/98]

Democratic Party of Albania. Press Release. Democratic Party Press & Information Dept. [Web page] August 1997.

http://www.albania.co.uk/dp/17aug.html Accessed [10/11/98]

  

 

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