In the framework of the project “Think Politically” are analyzed the programs of some of the parties that will participate in the parliamentary elections of 2017. The selection was made on the basis of representation in parliament, historic of the parties and also new parties with the opportunity to be represented in parliament. Another factor that significantly influenced the selection is the small number of parties registered in the elections (18 parties compared to 66 parties that participated in the parliamentary elections of 2013).
The selected parties are: the Democratic Party, the Socialist Party, the Socialist Movement for Integration, Party for Justice Integration and Unity, the Republican Party, the Equal List, the Albanian Democratic Christian Union Party.
Firstly we must say that up to this election campaign, the parties with the highest weight in Parliament have not presented genuine programs. From the monitoring attained in the framework of the project “Think Politically”, it turns out that the official pages of the three main parties contain data such as statute, attitudes and plans regarding various issues, but there is not a full political program.
Democratic Party Program
The Democratic Party in the “Attitudes” section published on its official website, mentions human rights on several occasions but does not specifically address LGBT issues.
For example, on the page “Security and Freedom” states: “All citizens are equal in front of the law, which must be based on respect to the fundamental and inalienable rights of the individual, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the Year 1948, to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1950 and the Treaty of Lisbon on Fundamental Rights of the European Union of 2009”.
The views of the Democratic Party about Education and Health speak for fair and equitable competition between public and private education, meritocracy in employment and integration of every individual in society and work, but no specific mention is made of equal opportunities for marginalized communities and neither for LGBT.
In the attitudes of the DP regarding the family, there are notes of heteronormativity, where clearly is noticed the support for heterosexual families only.
The LGBT Alliance and Pro LGBT have had constant communication with representatives of the Democratic Party about the Ride Against Homophobia, which took place the same day with the protest of the Democratic Party. The two organizations received direct guarantee from the chairman of this party for the welfare of the Parade, which was held without incidents.
Socialist Party Program
On the official website of the Socialist Party, the last published program is divided into 4 chapters: Revival of Economy, Renewal of the Society, Restoration of Democracy and Reunification with Europe. Another section called “Reforms” summarizes through brochures information on reforms undertaken in these 4 years, but it should be noted that the data on the “Program” page in many cases are similar to those in 2013.
The “Social Renewal” session of this program emphasizes the provision of quality public services regardless of sexual orientation.
The LGBT Alliance and Pro LGBT have sent an open letter to Prime Minister Rama, where they invited him to participate in the Ride Against Homophobia and to hold a public stand in support of LGBT rights. Prime Minister Rama nor other representatives of the Socialist Party did not participate in the Parade and the Socialist Party has not yet held an official position on matters of importance to the LGBT community.
However, its chairman in a television debate with journalist Blendi Fevziu has responded to an insult to the LGBT community with the words “All people are equal and respected”.
Socialist Movement for Integration Party Program
The Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI) is currently part of the leftist coalition with 16 mandates in the Albanian Parliament. On their Official website is published an education program and a plan for economic development.
The session “Overview of Albanian Actuality” of the LSI education program, reflects critics about the current state of education institutions and educational policies. The program mentions superficially human rights issues where promises equal opportunities in education and support for the Roma community. But this program lacks the vision to make schools a safe and secure environment from the bullying phenomenon, which would be a matter of importance to LGBTI youth.
If we take into account the LSI position on issues of importance to the LGBT community in these 4 years, it is worth noting that the Minister of Justice proposed by the LSI, Nasip Naço, has blocked the initiative of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth to amend Article 163 defining the concept of cohabitation in the Family Code. Although in the international jurisprudence and the Constitution of Albania the right to family life (not the definition of marriage) is a fundamental human right, Minister Naço’s position was that this human right “is not a priority”.
In May of this year, the LGBT Alliance and Pro LGBT, sent a letter to the LSI chairman at that time, Mr. Ilir Meta. The letter was an invitation to participate in the 6th anti-homophobic pedaling, where no representative of this party participated. At the same time, there was expressed the concern that despite the accommodating attitude towards LGBTI activists, this political force has never spoken publicly about the rights of this community, which are part of the fifth priority of Albania’s integration process into the European Union.
Justice Integration and Unity Party Program
The Justice, Integration and Unity Party is part of the leftist coalition in the Albanian Parliament, where it is represented with 4 mandates. The PDIU official website is updated with information and equipped with a session on the electoral program.
In the last electoral program found on the PDIU website, there is a dedicated human rights part. Among the achievements of the PDIU in this regard is mentioned “Unrestricted support to the law” “On Protection from Discrimination” as a new power in Albanian legislation on the protection of human rights.
But the “Goals” that PDIU has for human rights, only partially reflect Article 1 of the law “On Protection from Discrimination”. PDIU mentions “Prohibition of any discrimination regardless of Origin, Race, Sex, Language, Political Conviction, Education, Occupation or Social Situation”, not mentioning the prohibition of discrimination due to gender identity and sexual orientation.
If beyond the program approach we also consider the attitudes and statements of the representatives of this party in these 4 years, it is worth saying that the PDIU strongly opposed the legal changes that would have opened the path for cohabitation between the same gender. PDIU MPs in public statements have described opposition to issues of importance to the LGBT community as “cause and achievements of this political force”.
Republican Party Program
The Republican Party is a conservative right-wing party that currently has three mandates in the Albanian Parliament. On the official website of the Republican Party, four major issues have been published, one of which is titled “Homeland, Family, Properties”, which PR calls the pillars of the republican identity.
This party does not mention discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity, nor in the session “The Building of a Constitutional Government of the PR Program” where is spoken about the fight against discrimination, “We Republicans, consider discrimination based on gender, race, age, religion, belief, disability, or national origin, unacceptable and immoral”, the program states.
The Republican Party classifies cohabitations between the same sex as “serious threats imported from other countries”. It even goes further, defending traditional marriage with some arguments based on assumptions. “Children who grow up in married families are more likely to study at universities, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to use drugs or alcohol, engage in crime, or have a pregnancy outside of marriage”, is stated in the PR program.
Known even earlier for negative attitudes towards homosexuality, in the latest program published on the website, the Republican Party has called for the criminalization of homosexuality and has labeled it as a form of drug addiction, “To be banned homosexuality as a subversion of the human nature senses and any propaganda in favor of the spread of various drugs”.
Equal List Party Program
The Equal List (LIBRA) is a new party created in November 2016 which defines itself as a political organization of the center. This party was founded by Ben Blushi and Mimoza Hafizi, two former members of the Socialist Party, who are currently part of the Albanian Parliament.
On the Manifesto published on the official website of this party, is stated: “Libra does not prejudge anyone because of ethnicity, gender, property, age, religion, sexual orientation or previous political beliefs and will encourage and promote different thinking throughout its political activity”.
Program of the Albanian Christian Democratic Union Party
This party is represented in Parliament with only a mandate, that of its chairman Eduart Ndocaj. In the absence of information on the statute or program of this party, the only information about its attitude towards issues of importance to the LGBT community is the Public Declaration of its chairman Ndocaj. During an interview for the “Të paekspozuarit” show, he has proudly expressed his attitude as a Christian Democrat against the LGBT community, continuing with a clear insult comparing LGBT people with a car license plate.
*This publication was made with the support of ILGA-Europe within its Creating Opportunities programme. The opinions expressed in the document do not necessarily reflect any official position of ILGA-Europe