Democratization from Within: Political Culture and the Consolidation of Democracy in Post-Communist Albania
The nonviolent revolution of Albania reinforced the belief in the West that democracy is an exportable good if Western democracies implement a right combination of pressure and aid in collaboration with internal political actors. Western pressure, coupled with technical and economic assistance was domestically understood as a conditio sine qua non for the successful implementation of the first phase of democratic reforms. However, efforts to establish a democracy in Albania raised the following question. Will the framing of the appropriate constitution and economic system - building democratic institutions and developing positive attitudes towards them - take place among Albanians through ongoing familiarization? Accordingly, the failure of the 1994 referendum on the new constitution, the overnight changes of the 1998 constitution in 2008 and the permanent stagnant economy strengthened the belief among Albanians that a democratic constitution and a functioning market economy cannot flourish if they are not rooted in an environment pervaded by a democratic culture. Furthermore, if democracy has to persist and become consolidated, it is not enough just to skillfully engineer institutions without taking into account the effect of political culture. Ultimately, this book attempts to show that the efforts made by the Western countries to export democracy to Albania and to promote consolidation through political tools generalized from other alien realities, without taking into consideration Albania’s internal political culture values, have turned out to be in the long run a ‘political abortion’. On the other hand, this book should be construed neither as a critique of democracy nor as a defense of it; it is also not a balance sheet of the success or failure of democracy and democratization processes in Albania, but rather it aims at presenting an alternative approach to democratic consolidation through Albania's authentic cultural heritage.