June 1 and celebrations
We can say convincingly that June was a hectic month full of different activities. Activities that in major part related unfortunately with the electoral campaign for the June 21 local elections, rather than with the work of the Ministry of Defense.
To start off on a positive note, the first day of the month was dedicated to celebrations of international children’s day. While a good part of society was caught in the fever of the electoral campaign, minister Kodheli did not hesitate to start June by celebrating with children of Albanian soldiers.
No one gives ‘’gifts’’ for free
During the first week of the month several news in the official website of the ministry are dedicated to the valuable assistance of the Turkish government towards the development of material and human capacities of the Albanian armed Forces. Similar to months before, Turkey donates a number of automobiles that according to the ministry will be used to transport military forces in different missions. Unfortunately, the same question arises: What are the conditions of this donation (or cooperation as referred to by the ministry, while at least from the outside the cooperation seems onesided)? For the sake of a lack in transparency on this donation we should ask ourselves regarding details of this cooperation, what is asked in return and how exactly these new vehicles will be used? One of the key lessons in international relations, especially in bilateral relations, is that no state or non state entity donates ‘’for free’’. There is always an implication of diplomatic influence. What is in this case the interest that lies behind this second and continuous donation on the side of Turkey?
2000 lekë for martyrs
On June 10 the ministry, through a notification on its official website, presents a decision of the Council of Ministers regarding an increase in the financial treatment for families of martyrs with 2000 leke. This decision refers to Decision no. 151 dated 25.04.2002 ‘’On the statys of national martyr’’. The latter has experienced changes from year to year until 2008, mostly related to aesthetic fixings. But what is most visible is that the sum of the compensation was changed for the first time after 13 years since the decision entered into force and the addition is quite ridiculous, as if the compensation is not ridiculous on its own (5000 leke). With the new addition families of Albanian martyrs will be able to provide for food for 1-2 days. Beyond the positive aspect of remembering that such a category of the Albanian society exists, the compensation itself plus the addition of 2000 leke are not respectful of the sacrificies of this group.
The Minister of Defense could not escape direct participation during the May and June electoral campaign for local elections. She was focused in her hometown Lezhe. Although one of the first meetings of the campaign was conducted on a day off from her official duties, she nonetheless cannot escape her role as the head of the defense institution. Firthermore the meeting was conducted with teachers of the city where the minister talked about a theme that in fact does not belong to her: education reform and the necessity to elect the left wing candidate as the right direction to continue the reform.
There should be a dividing line between the figure of Ms. Kodheli as a politician of the party that is now in government and her figure as a technician or minister in charge of one of the most important institutions in the country. together with colleagues from other ministries Ms. Kodheli should have kept her impartiality in these elecions, for two main reasons: first of all, not to shake citizens’ trust in this institution and the person who runs it and secondly not to allow any abuse of duty because of engagement in an electoral campaign for local elections. As it is identified in the OSCE/ODIHR report ‘’A number of high officials from big governing parties used activities and state resources for campaign purposes’’, something that creates a certain degree of fear among voters on casting their vote free of consequent punishments.
furthermore, a less than ethical phenomenon was evident in these campaign. Not only the defense minister but other politicians as well of the governing party have used this card to ‘’convince’’ Albanian voters to vote for this alternative in the new local configuration of Albania. The promise that the government will support left wing candidates if they are elected Mayors is not ethical and creates deviation in voter preferences, making them feel that there is no other real alternative except the one supported by the government.
Many countries and organizations have created Codes of Ethics for employees of public administration and ministers that regulate the conduct of the latter during elections. A detailed analysis of the latter would help Albania in created a clear dividing line between the two aspects of a democratic state.
Among many successful examples we could mention a decision of the General Assembly of the United Nations, principle 1 of which declares that ‘’the political activity of high officials outside the scope of their position, in line with laws and administrative policies, should be such as not to hamper the public trust in the impartial performance of their functions and duties’’. However, the problem in Albania does not start with adopting there regulations, but with practical implementation.
1- Ministria e Mbrojtjes. Qershor 2015. Ministrja Kodheli mes fëmijëve të ushtarakëve në festën e 1 qershorit. Online: http://www.mod.gov.al/index.php/neësroom-2/1150-ministrja-kodheli-mes-femijeve-te-ushtarakeve-ne-festen-e-1-qershorit
2- Ministria e Mbrojtjes. Qershor 2015. Ministrja e mbrojtjes Kodheli në 70 vjetorin e clirimit të Lezhës. Online: http://www.mod.gov.al/index.php/neësroom-2/781-ministrja-e-mbrojtjes-kodheli-ne-70-vjetorin-e-clirimit-te-lezhes
3- Ministria e Mbrojtjes. Qershor 2015. FA shqiptare i dhurohen 27 mjete transporti trupash ushtarake nga Turqia. Online: http://www.mod.gov.al/index.php/neësroom-2/1162-fa-shqiptare-i-dhurohen-27-mjete-transporti-trupash-ushtarake-nga-turqia
4- Ministria e Mbrojtjes. Qershor 2015. Rritet në masën e 2000 leke trajtimi financiar mujor i familjarëve të dëshmorëve të atdheut. Online: http://www.mod.gov.al/index.php/neësroom-2/1178-rritet-ne-masen-e-2-000-leke-trajtimi-financiar-mujor-i-familjareve-te-deshmoreve-te-atdheut
5- Këshilli i Qarkut Kukës, Publikime. 2002. Vendim nr. 141 ‘’Per statusin e dëshmorit të atdheut’’. Online: http://www.kqk.gov.al/sites/default/files/publikime/vkm_nr.151_date_25.04.2002.pdf
6- Shqiptarja.com. Maj 2015. Kodheli: Votoni drejtimin e duhur; Tusha: Do hapim universitet në qytet. Online: http://shqiptarja.com/zgjedhjet%20lokale%202015/2760/kodheli-votoni-drejtimin-e-duhur-tushado-hapim-universitet-ne-qytet-294400.html
7- OSCE/ODIHR. Qershor 2015. Deklaratë e gjetjeve dhe përfundimeve paraprake. Online: http://www.osce.org/sq/odihr/elections/albania/165746?doënload=true
8- Gazeta Tema. Qershor 2015. Tushaj premton mbështetje për biznesin.Kodheli: Projektet për Lezhën me mbështetjen e qeverisë. Online: http://www.gazetatema.net/ëeb/2015/05/31/tushaj-premton-mbeshtetje-per-biznesinkodheli-projektet-per-lezhen-me-mbeshtetjen-e-qeverise/
9- Electoral Knoëledge Network. Conduct during elections for civil servants and ministers. Online: http://aceproject.org/electoral-advice/archive/questions/replies/915147317
10- United Nations Economic and Social Council.International Code of Conduct for Public Officials. Online: http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/un/unpan039934.pdf