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BIRN: Trust in political institutions is falling again in Albania

BIRN: Trust in political institutions is falling again in Albania

The President of the Republic, Bajram Begaj seems to have disappointed the Albanians with his institutional behavior during the past year, since a part of the citizens had expressed confidence when he took office in 2022, elected unilaterally by the votes of the Socialist Party.

A survey by the Institute for Democracy and Mediation reveals that the confidence of Albanians in the institution of the president fell from 41 to 35%, which is likely the result of the president's accommodating attitude to the majority that elected him. The confidence of Albanians in Begaj is still significantly higher than they had in the previous president Ilir Meta, who, at the end of his term, was liked by only 24% of the citizens surveyed.

Declining trust in the president appears to be part of a trend of declining trust more broadly in most political institutions in the country. Political parties held the position of the institutions in which Albanians have the least confidence, next to the prosecution, the courts, the parliament and the president. Trust in the central government remained unchanged during the past year, while trust in the local government increased, according to the survey data.

The Special Prosecutor's Office Against Corruption and Organized Crime enjoyed the trust of 60% of Albanians in 2023, a significant increase from 50% in 2022. Created at the end of 2019, SPAK had a slow start before marked some strong blows against organized crime and corruption after the second half of last year.

In total, 81% of Albanians, or more than four out of every five citizens questioned, think that corruption is "widespread" or "very widespread" while the perception of corruption has further worsened over the past year.

And one third of citizens who received a public service from the central or local government reported that they paid a bribe. In almost 58% of cases, citizens reported that they were forced to pay a bribe because they "asked for it", while only 15% said that they had paid it in the form of a tip for the service received. The widespread presence of corruption seems to lead most citizens to have no faith that it is being fought. Despite the high evaluation of SPAK, only 34% of citizens have confidence in the criminal prosecution of cases of high corruption.

The National Anticorruption Coordinator, the institution with which the government of Prime Minister Edi Rama says it fights corruption, is the institution that enjoys the least confidence of citizens among the institutions that deal with the fight against corruption. A low rating is also given to the ILDKPKI, the institution that should notice cases of unjustified wealth or conflicts of interest between high officials./ BIRN

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