Transitional or Hybrid Regime
DEMOCRACY-PERCENTAGE Democracy Percentage 46.43 100
DEMOCRACY-SCORE Democracy Score 3.79 7
Last Year's Democracy Percentage & Status
46 100 Transitional or Hybrid Regime
The ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 representing the highest level of democratic progress and 1 the lowest. The Democracy Score is an average of ratings for the categories tracked in a given year. The Democracy Percentage, introduced in 2020, is a translation of the Democracy Score to the 0-100 scale, where 0 equals least democratic and 100 equals most democratic. See the methodology.

header1 Author


header2 Score changes in 2023

  • Corruption rating improved from 2.75 to 3.00 due to a number of high-profile indictments and convictions of former officials by the Special Anti-Corruption and Organized Crime Structure (SPAK) as well as its proactive role in promoting the fight against corruption and organized crime.

As a result, Albania’s Democracy Score improved from 3.75 to 3.79.

header3 Executive Summary

In 2022, Albania’s democracy withstood numerous challenges, particularly during the March local special elections in six municipalities, as well as political party internal reorganizations and cross-party cooperation for the election of President Bajram Begaj.1 However, the country made little sustainable progress towards becoming a full-fledged liberal democracy and is still classified as a hybrid democracy.

Most Albanian political leaders remained hostile to liberal democratic values, and have shown little appreciation for why equality under the law and subject to the rule of law are important democratic values. Most political parties are dominated by iron-fisted leaders, and this lack of internal party democracy was demonstrated in how candidates were selected for the municipal special elections, leaders of local party branches, and the upcoming regular local elections in May 2023.2

On March 6, Albania held special mayoral elections to fill vacancies created in the municipalities of Shkodër, Vorë, and Lushnjë, after incumbent mayors were discharged for violating the law on the integrity of elected officials. Commonly known as the “decriminalization law,” it prohibits convicted persons from holding public office.3 Additionally, the mayors of Durrës and Dibër resigned, and the mayor of Rrogozhinë died in office, leaving six vacancies in total. The ruling Socialist Party (PS), led by Prime Minister Edi Rama, won in five municipalities. In a coalition with opposition parties, a faction of the Democratic Party (PD), registered as “House of Freedom” (Shtëpia e Lirisë), won in Shkodër.4

However, the terms for the new mayors last only one year since regular local elections are scheduled for May 14, 2023. Sali Berisha had previously resigned as PD leader after losing a parliamentary election in 2013, but the special elections allowed him to engineer a return, forcing out Lulzim Basha after nine years at the PD helm.5 Berisha again took over PD in May, but there are still major divisions between Berisha and Basha’s respective party factions.6 These highly politicized internal divisions dominated Albania’s political scene in 2022.7 Public discourse and the media focused more on PD’s internal dynamics than on the social and economic problems facing the country and the need to hold PM Rama’s government accountable.

During the year, a number of political reporters met with verbal abuse, press conference bans, intimidation, hefty fines, and even lawsuits.8 In particular, a defamation suit was filed against Isa Myzyraj after he reported on unexplained assets of former top prosecutor Elizabeta Imeraj, her failure to pass the judicial vetting process, and eventual firing.9 Elvis Hila was threatened for publishing news on forged court documents in Lezha, and he and his wife were physically assaulted a day after he broke the story.10 The Albanian Union of Journalists and Reporters Without Borders11 confirmed that Myzyraj, Hila, and other journalists have been targeted by organized crime groups, politically connected individuals, and corrupt officers within the police and justice system. Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) notes that Albania is failing to protect journalists and the free press, both crucial components of a liberal democracy.12

Most media outlets in Albania are owned by business persons with close ties to politicians and/or organized crime networks, and serve as mouthpieces for those interests.13 In 2022, opinion-format television shows increasingly moved towards news reporting, becoming a primary vehicle for misinformation fueled by political interests and owner connections rather than facts14 —as seen in coverage of the Basha-Berisha power struggle,15 corruption allegations against government officials over waste management public contracts,16 and the role of organized crime in human trafficking and Albanian migration to the UK.17 Despite the damage caused by misinformation to the development of a liberal democracy, this serious problem has yet to be effectively addressed in Albania.18

The European Union (EU) opened accession talks with Albania in July 2022, described by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as a “historic moment,”19 and Albania hosted the first ever EU-Western Balkans Summit outside of EU member states in December.20 Both occasions represented significant foreign policy successes for Albania. However, despite progress made since the fall of communism—including convictions of high-level officials for abuse of power and corruption in 2022,21 thanks to the commitment of the Special Anti-Corruption and Organized Crime Structure (SPAK)22 —many public institutions remain dysfunctional due to widespread corruption and a culture of impunity, undermining democracy and the rule of law.23

While Albania generally complies with international human rights instruments, the country still fails to uphold fundamental rights as crucial values underpinning a liberal democratic society. For example, a BIRN study discovered that approximately 320 cases of sexual abuse occurred in 2020–22, and the victims’ identities, families, personal information, and home addresses were widely published in the media,24 leading to several suicides and targeting by human traffickers. Domestic violence protection and restraining orders were requested by 2,205 women during the year; tragically, 10 women were killed by their partners.25 Additionally, LGBT+, Roma, and Egyptians individuals have suffered verbal and physical assaults.26 Local experts and victims report that despite alerting the authorities, victims—particularly women, LGBT+ persons, and minorities—receive inadequate protection. Instead of holding the abusers accountable, public authorities and local politicians often blame the victims and even reveal their names and identities to the media, leading to their further victimization. As such, Albania has so far neglected its institutional responsibilities to uphold basic human rights and civil liberties, values that are fundamental to a full-fledged liberal democracy.

header4 At-A-Glance

National governance in Albania is democratic but dominated by clientelistic party politics focusing on individual leaders rather than the party. Although elections are generally competitive, as evidenced by the special elections in 2022, political leaders’ personal grievances often overshadow issues affecting local communities. The civic sector is active in public discourse and interests, with new civil entities organizing to promote issues that traditional NGOs do not address. This development is due partly to the impact of social media and modern technologies. The traditional media are independent and provide some level of scrutiny of public officeholders, but journalists face harassment, threats, and censorship from politicians and media owners, who use their platforms to lobby the interests of political parties or maintain a political line. Local self-government is democratic but severely underfunded. Several local governments are on the verge of bankruptcy and unable to provide adequate services to citizens. The judiciary is undergoing a delayed vetting process reform, likely through 2024. As a result, it is only partially functional, but the government’s promises around court reform have raised expectations. Yet proposals to reduce the number of courts may have the opposite effect by curtailing already limited access to justice. Corruption remains widespread, contributing to dysfunction in public institutions and limiting their ability to provide effective services. While new law enforcement agencies like SPAK, established in 2019, show promising signs in combating corruption and organized crime at the highest levels. However, political influence over the judiciary in corruption cases is still a concern.

National Democratic Governance 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Considers the democratic character of the governmental system; and the independence, effectiveness, and accountability of the legislative and executive branches. 3.253 7.007
  • In 2022, the opposition camp in Albania took a significant political turn, losing the special mayoral elections in March.1 Having stepped down as leader of the Democratic Party (Partia Demokratike, PD) in 2013, Sali Berisha returned to helm PD in March,2 ousting Lulzim Basha who resigned after prolonged party infighting (see “Electoral Process”).3 PD’s new legal statutes, including its central leadership posts, were still unverified in court at year’s end, which meant that Berisha was not yet the official party leader.4 Until that time, the deputy leader Enkelejd Alibeaj would be legally recognized as acting chairman of the party.5
  • After Illir Meta’s term as president of Albania ended in July, he returned as leader of the Socialist Movement for Integration (Lëvizja Socialiste për Integrim, LSI), which he founded in 2004. To commemorate his return, Meta called for the party to reform and change its name to Freedom Party (Partia e Lirisë, PL) on July 256 —the party unanimously approved the changes to its logo, name, and other symbols, and Meta became its new leader.7
  • The Socialist Party (Partia Socialiste, PS), led by Prime Minister Edi Rama, underwent a similar reorganization, holding elections in most local branches. These internal party elections were aimed at reorganizing the local branches for the May 2023 regular local elections.8
  • Observers asserted that these internal elections in Albania’s three major political parties (PD, PL, and PS) were predetermined and heavily influenced by the party leaders, rather than being the result of genuine internal party competition. This highlights Albania’s limited internal party democracy, where iron-fisted party leaders maintain control with autocratic rule.9
  • On June 4, 2022, Bajram Begaj was elected president of Albania by the Kuvendi, the country’s unicameral parliament, and inaugurated on July 25.10 Despite being viewed as an apolitical candidate, the ruling PS chose Begaj (see “Electoral Process”), who previously served as head of the joint chiefs of staff for the Albanian armed forces.11
  • Prime Minister Rama reshuffled the cabinet in July, replacing Arben Ahmetaj with Belinda Balluku (previously Minister of Infrastructure and Energy since 2019) as deputy prime minister.12 Ahmetaj’s dismissal sparked concerns regarding the government’s process for awarding public procurement contracts.13 Majlinda Dhuka was appointed State Minister for EU Negotiations14 following the start of EU accession talks.15
  • In July, the EU held the first Intergovernmental Conference with Albania in Brussels, launching EU accession negotiations that had been stalled for four years.16 Albania became an EU candidate in 2014 upon evidence that its justice system was prosecuting politicians for abuse of power,17 making the beginning of accession talks a significant moment in the country’s politics. At the conference, the EU emphasized the need for Albania to demonstrate clear commitments to upholding and strengthening fundamental democratic values before joining the EU.
  • A parliamentary inquiry was conducted in early 2022 into the government’s awarding of contracts to build three waste incinerators through public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the municipalities of Elbasan (in 2014), Fier, and the capital Tirana. Several high-ranking officials testified before the inquiry, including the prime minister, former deputy prime minister, several ministers, mayors of Elbasan, Fier, and Tirana, and others.18 According to observers, if the Special Anti-Corruption and Organized Crime Structure (Struktura e Posaçme Anti-Korrupsion, SPAK) could prove the allegations, it would likely expose corrupt activities of various senior politicians (see “Corruption”),19 including ties with dubious business interests and organized crime networks.
  • In December, Albania’s High Council of Prosecutors chose Altin Dumani as the new head of SPAK. The contest among three candidates was marked by concerns over possible political interference.20 In the run-up to the vote, Yuri Kim (Albania’s Ambassador to the United States) expressed concern about political pressure in selecting the head of SPAK, which the Albanian government refuted.21 By contrast, domestic media suggested that Dumani was the international community’s preferred candidate, and that EU-US pressure had resulted in his appointment by the High Council of Prosecutors.22
Electoral Process 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Examines national executive and legislative elections, the electoral framework, the functioning of multiparty systems, and popular participation in the political process. 4.254 7.007
  • On March 6, 2022, Albania held six mayoral special elections in the municipalities of Shkodër, Dibër, Durrës, Vorë, Rrogozhinë, and Lushnjë. The ruling PS, led by PM Rama, won in five of the municipalities, whereas a wing of PD known as “House of Freedom” (Shtëpia e Lirisë), led by Sali Berisha, won the Shkodër by-election.1 The main Democratic Party, led by Lulzim Basha, failed to win any mayorships—forcing Basha to resign from PD over the heavy defeat by both the ruling PS and his own party wing. The House of Freedom victory was pivotal in ousting Basha and paving the way for Berisha’s return as party leader. The Socialist Movement for Integration (formerly LSI, now Freedom Party, PL) did not participate in the by-elections but supported Berisha’s candidates and encouraged its supporters to vote for them.
  • The Central Election Commission efficiently administered the mayoral by-elections, and all political parties accepted the results—a rare occurrence in Albania’s young democracy.2 However, the special elections have minimal significance since the new mayors will be in office for only one year.3 Regular local elections in all municipalities are scheduled for May 2023. Following consultations with political parties in October 2022, President Begaj issued a decree for the upcoming local elections to be held on May 14, 2023, and directed the Central Election Commission to begin administrative preparations.4
  • In March, the ruling PS parliamentary group set a May date for the presidential election. Initially, they collaborated with PD’s acting chair Enkelejd Alibeaj to select a joint presidential candidate instead of with PD’s House of Freedom fraction, on grounds that they would not engage with a wing of PD under the shadow of both US and UK sanctions for undermining democracy.5 The hope was for a “consensus” president—a cross-party, unifying figure who could heal the rift within the major opposition PD. However, the first three rounds of voting failed to elect a new president in which two-thirds of the Kuvendi (84 of 140 members) is required. This caused both wings of PD to accuse PS of breaking their agreement to find a consensus president.6 In the fourth round on June 4, PS elected Begaj as president, keeping his name a secret until a few days before the vote.7 This tactic helped them elect a president with 71+ votes, but the political strategy was highly criticized.8 Given that the EU has urged Albania to show more commitment to cross-party collaboration,9 experts argued that both parties missed an opportunity to demonstrate cooperation in choosing a joint candidate for president.
Civil Society 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Assesses the organizational capacity and financial sustainability of the civic sector; the legal and political environment in which it operates; the functioning of trade unions; interest group participation in the policy process; and the threat posed by antidemocratic extremist groups. 4.755 7.007
  • In 2022, civic movements in Albania became more organized in support of issues that traditional nongovernmental and civil society organizations (NGOs and CSOs) have typically ignored. For example, “Diaspora for a Free Albania” filed a case against the Kuvendi in the Constitutional Court demanding the right of Albanians residing abroad to vote in parliamentary elections.1 In December, the court ruled that the parliament had violated the constitution by not allowing Albanians living abroad to vote in the 2021 parliamentary elections and ordered that the diaspora be allowed to vote from abroad in future parliamentary elections.2 Similarly, scholar Fabian Zhilla organized a petition with over 10,000 signatures urging the Kuvendi to regulate “reality show” programming, and to order the Audiovisual Media Authority (Autoriteti i Mediave Audiovizive) to reinforce and implement current legislation on TV programs that spread hate speech.3 These movements show that civil society members are becoming more organized as the Albanian public becomes more aware of how to use democratic tools, due in part to social media platforms and technological advancements.
  • One of the EU’s key accession preconditions for Albania is for NGOs and CSOs to be included in consultations when laws are drafted. However, when the Justice Ministry and the High Judicial Council presented the idea of reducing the number of courts (see “Judicial Framework and Independence”), they initially neglected this requirement. After media pressure, NGOs and CSOs were eventually included, but their concerns regarding the new judicial map and its potential to adversely affect access to justice were dismissed.4 The Albanian Helsinki Committee has repeatedly exposed how the Kuvendi and the newly reformed High Judicial Council have failed to consider NGO and CSO proposals or the concerns of citizens about access to justice, including the high costs and logistical challenges resulting from the court reorganizations.5 According to observers, these failures are a recurring theme in Albania.
  • Throughout 2022, women and LGBT+ persons in Albania faced numerous threats and derogatory media campaigns (see “Independent Media”), with public institutions failing to provide adequate protection (see “Judicial Framework and Independence”). For example, a 2020–22 study conducted by BIRN found that in some 320 cases of sexual abuse, victims’ personal information, including family names and home addresses, were published in the media.6 During the same period, about 364 published articles exposed personal data of victims of domestic violence and/or sexual abuse, including photos and videos.7 Despite NGOs and CSOs urging the Audiovisual Media Authority to safeguard victims’ identities and for public institutions to provide better protections, authorities have failed to take adequate steps. Similarly, after the Albanian Alliance Against Discrimination of LGBT People (Aleanca LGBT) campaigned for the right of an LGBT+ couple to register as parents of two baby girls, both Aleanca LGBT and the couple received brutal threats, online and in person.8 On paper, Albania has adopted legislation and policies to support inclusion of LGBT+ people as part of the EU accession process, but the government has yet to demonstrate true commitments to protecting LGBT+ rights,9 women’s rights, and human rights in general within society and public institutions.10
Independent Media 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Examines the current state of press freedom, including libel laws, harassment of journalists, and editorial independence; the operation of a financially viable and independent private press; and the functioning of the public media. 3.504 7.007
  • According to the Reporters Without Borders 2022 World Press Freedom Index, Albania dropped several positions due in part to pressure from political interests to suppress media scrutiny and manipulate the media narrative to serve party agendas.1 During the year, several journalists were verbally and/or physically2 attacked for their coverage.3 Furthermore, the Albanian General Tax Directorate imposed hefty fines on various television networks and media outlets, as well as their parent companies and owners, for critical coverage of the government.4 Given the opaque nature of media ownership and funding in Albania, it is difficult to analyze the exact motives behind such large fines or any potential links between politics and media ownership.
  • In March, after main PD lost six mayoral by-elections and US intelligence revealed that the party had received $500,000 from Russia5 in the run-up to the 2017 general elections, journalists asked former PD leader Lulzim Basha if he would resign and take responsibility for the Russian money allegations. Basha, however, responded with disparaging comments, and some reporters were subsequently barred from future press conferences.6 Additionally, several journalists were verbally abused in the course of covering protests and violent clashes outside PD headquarters and the rifts between Basha and Berisha over the party leadership.7 Senior government members, also banned some journalists from their press conferences8 when their questions were deemed too probing, as happened in one case with questions about Foreign Affairs Minister Olta Xhacka.9 In response to this suppression of press freedom, journalists protested outside the PM’s office in July demanding better treatment of journalists by politicians across the political spectrum.10
  • Throughout 2022, journalists and civil society members faced various forms of harassment and smear campaigns aimed at discrediting their reporting, including an increase in defamation lawsuits. Judicial reporter Isa Myzyraj was sued by former top prosecutor Elizabeta Imeraj, who was accused of using intimidation and threats in retaliation for his reporting on her failure to pass the judicial vetting process over questions about her personal assets.11 12 Myzyraj also revealed that former members of the judiciary who failed to pass the vetting process were funding media stories13 to smear members of the vetting body (the International Monitoring Operation) and the international community that had promoted judicial reform since 2017.14 In 2022, the EU’s Directorate-General for the European Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations described the process as an “orchestrated smear campaign” aimed at undermining the EU-led judicial vetting process and suppressing media coverage in Albania.15 Experts say these defamation cases not only pose a serious threat to media freedom in Albania but also undermine one of the most important pillars of a liberal democracy, that of a functioning press.
Local Democratic Governance 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Considers the decentralization of power; the responsibilities, election, and capacity of local governmental bodies; and the transparency and accountability of local authorities. 4.505 7.007
  • Eleven political parties—Albanian Democratic Reforms Party, Albanian Democratic Union, Christian-Democratic Party, Demochristian Party, Democratic Party, Legality Movement Party, National Democratic Front, New Democratic Spirit, New Movement, Socialist Movement for Integration, and Socialist Party—registered in January 2022 to participate in the March mayoral by-elections.1
  • In February, the Central Election Commission allocated around €3 million in party funding, most of it going to the two major parties, PS (€1.2 million) and PD (€860,000),2 and the rest distributed to the other nine parties based on the results of the most recent parliamentary elections (April 25, 2021). Experts heavily criticized this fund-allocation formula due to the massive advantage it afforded the Socialists and Democrats.
  • PS won mayorships in five of the six municipality special elections. The new PD fraction House of Freedom (led at the time by Sali Berisha) won in Shkodër, a PD stronghold.3 The mayoral campaigns were brief and of limited impact due to the upcoming May 2023 regular local elections,4 with whatever changes they may bring to leadership in the municipalities. Still, PS proposed addressing financial difficulties of local government through reform, including reducing the number of Albania’s municipalities from 61 to 50. PD also proposed reform but suggested an increase in municipalities from 61 to 80.5 Cross-party agreement on reforms was not reached due partly to other government priorities and internal power struggles within PD between leaders Berisha and Basha.6
  • In August, the government acknowledged that nearly 15 municipalities were virtually bankrupt.7 The Finance Ministry suggested it would take over the financial and administrative affairs of Vorës and Kavajës, which have already been declared as failing. The Association of Municipalities expressed concerns that, without a significant increase in financial aid above the current 1 percent of GDP,8 most municipalities in Albania would go bankrupt. The last local government reform was eight years ago; since then, municipalities have received only 1.2 percent of GDP, which is about four and a half times less than in other Western Balkans countries.9
Judicial Framework and Independence 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Assesses constitutional and human rights protections, judicial independence, the status of ethnic minority rights, guarantees of equality before the law, treatment of suspects and prisoners, and compliance with judicial decisions. 3.253 7.007
  • After five years in operation, the terms of institutions in charge of the magistrate vetting process (for 800 judges and prosecutors) were set to expire in June 2022. However, only about 60 percent of magistrates had completed the vetting process by the end of 2022, with half disqualified for failing to justify their assets or discovering hidden wealth, suggesting corruption.1 Under EU-US pressure, the Kuvendi agreed (by 118 votes) to extend the vetting process until December 31, 2024.2
  • Civic sector and political pressure on the judicial vetting process has increased as delays in the justice system have caused legal, social, economic, and political challenges in Albania.3 Access to justice has worsened, with experts claiming it now takes over three and a half years to commence or complete proceedings due to a lack of magistrates.4 Since the 2017 reform, the judicial system has failed to attract new recruits and is on the verge of collapse.5 While 26 new magistrates will graduate in 2023, the prospective number is insufficient to run the system at full capacity for another five years, further eroding public trust in Albania’s justice system.6
  • The Albanian government and international actors who have promoted the judicial vetting process as key to Albania’s European integration suggested in 2022 that, in addition to magistrate reevaluation, court restructuring is needed to make the justice system more effective. The Albanian High Judicial Council recommended a reduction and reorganization of courts—dubbed the “new judicial map”—with Albania’s six appeals courts merged into one, based in Tirana.7 The number of first-instance courts will be reduced from 12 to 2, and administrative courts reduced from 6 to 2.8
  • The Kuvendi voted in July to adopt the new judicial map, which will be implemented by July 2023. While international actors who championed judicial reform in Albania praised the new map, it has been heavily criticized by numerous lawyers’ associations9 and CSOs, such as the Albanian Helsinki Committee, for failing to include local actors in the consultation process.10 These groups also claim that reducing the number of courts will damage citizens’ access to justice and increase the cost of the judicial process since some citizens will have to travel over 200 kilometers to reach a court under the new plans.11
  • To protest the new judicial map, the Albanian Chamber of Attorneys instructed its members to boycott all court proceedings in July 2022, and lawyers across the country have refused to provide legal services.12 Against government claims of increased judicial effectiveness, rule-of-law observers argue that the reforms prioritize expediency over judicial effectiveness. Government officials are accused of forcing magistrates into redundancy (effectively removing them) to meet the new judicial vetting process deadline, assigning pending cases to new courts with magistrates to create the impression of progress in the judicial reform, despite mounting case backlogs and delays—all of which has created distrust in the judiciary.13
Corruption 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Looks at public perceptions of corruption, the business interests of top policymakers, laws on financial disclosure and conflict of interest, and the efficacy of anticorruption initiatives. 3.003 7.007
  • In 2022, the Special Anti-Corruption and Organized Crime Structure (SPAK) heard several cases involving current and former public officials accused of abuse of power, corrupt acts, or involvement in organized crime. In February, SPAK sentenced former interior minister Saimir Tahiri to three and a half years in prison1 for abuse of power—the highest-profile case that SPAK has successfully prosecuted since its establishment in 2019.2 Alqi Bllako, a PS parliamentarian, was arrested in March 2022 for allegedly accepting a bribe of €120,000 while serving as general secretary of the Environment Ministry. He is accused by SPAK of assisting a company in winning a public contract for waste incinerators.3 Bllako was released from prison in October and is under house arrest while SPAK investigates three waste incinerator contracts.4 Several public officials with links to these ongoing cases were also arrested5 and are now subjects of SPAK investigations for corruption and abuse of power. Among the arrested is former environment minister Lefter Koka.6
  • Waste incinerators were the main topic of corruption allegations in Albania during the year. According to SPAK, Koka earned millions of euros for the construction of the Fier and Elbasan incinerator plants and could face 12 years in prison if found guilty.7 The allegations were first brought forward by Endri Shabani, the head of a new political party called “Nisma #Thurje”8 and followed by parliamentarian Monika Kryemadhi, former leader of the Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI, now Freedom Party, PL)9 and the Democratic Party, which led to a parliamentary inquiry in March headed by Kuvendi member Jorida Tabaku (PD).10 The investigation examined the legal process by which the government had awarded contracts to build three waste incinerators in the municipalities of Elbasan (2014), Fier (2016), and Tirana (2017)—worth a total of €178 million.11 During the hearing, a government spokesperson indirectly admitted several irregularities in the award criteria, with the successful companies being the sole bidders in all three cases, and the winner of the Elbasan contract submitting and gaining the contract without a tender process. Since public procurement contracts extend up to 30 years, there are estimates that these irregularities have cost Albanian taxpayers around €50 million.12 The exact amount of misused taxpayer money may never be known, making this procurement scandal one of the most contentious political issues in the country.

On Albania

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  • Global Freedom Score

    67 100 partly free