Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has published a blacklist of 100 people that he considers should not be part of the public administration or the judicial system.
The officials were those considered to be the least helpful in an administration that is generally not known for being supportive to citizens. Its publication is part of Rama’s efforts to tackle notoriously high levels of official corruption as the country aims to open its first EU accession negotiation chapters.
The blacklist includes people employed in local municipal councils, ministries, courts, prosecution office, police, hospitals, schools and state-owned companies.
The list was made by a team appointed by Rama based on peoples’ feedback and opinions posted on Rama’s Facebook page, and given during the team's encounters with people across the country.
Rama posted the list on July 12, sparking a social media furore. Just 24 hours later, there were more than 3,500 comments, many of them from Albanian citizens suggesting more names to add to the list, while some were from state officials defending themselves from accusations of corruption or incompetence.
This is not the first time Rama has made an example of officials who fail to live up to his reform ambitions. In 2014, he sacked deputy environment minister Diana Bejko for failing to pay electricity bills for her summer house amid a government drive to eradicate electricity theft.
Now, the prime minister is seeking to make his government more responsive to citizens. Rama and other Socialist Party officials recently started a nationwide tour to thank Albanians for their support in the June 25 general election with the aim of striking a coalition with citizens and hearing their opinions of what they want from the future government.
The Socialist Party won 74 seats in the 140-seat parliament, enough to rule alone for the next four years. The new cabinet composition of the Socialists is expected to be announced in July.
“These hearings are very important with the aim of determining together what are the key priorities and main problems that people have,” the Socialist Party said in a statement on July 11.
The process will go hand in hand with a more radical reforms in the Albanian public administration, which will be supported by the EU.
“It is essential to build a real coalition with ordinary people,” the Socialists said in the statement. The public platform where people will be able to share their opinions will be launched in September.
Rama has already presented a plan, based on suggestions given so far by citizens, focused on ten main points indicated as the most important to be implemented in the next four years. The justice system is at the top of issues listed by people, followed by reforms in the public administration and education system.
Recently the EU ambassador in Albania, Romana Vlahutin, said that one of the most difficult reforms in any transitional country is reform of the public administration. This is not only because of lack of consistent capacity, nepotism and corruption, but also because of lack of investment in people and talents as well as lower salaries than in the competitive private sector.