The founders of the Albanian Center of Parliamentary Studies and Democratic Practices [ACPSDP] have thought of publishing such a Review on parliamentary law from the moment of the foundation of this Center. The publication of a Review has been considered a natural and necessary instrument for a study center. Not only this, but the need to have a possibility to express ideas and hold debates in this field has been often discussed during the time when its founders used to work in the Assembly as advisors. Today it is a special pleasure for us to be able to publish the Review on Parliamentary Law and Legal Policies.
Why is this Review published and what is it going to offer its readers?
The presentation of legal practices in an unbiased and objective way will hold an important place in the contents of this Review. The political debate, which is reflected in the Albanian media among the various political forces in the country, is often personalized and as a result the public is not clear about the stands of various political forces on major issues that affect the interests of a broad category of people. The public is at the same time the elector, and in this context, it should have a greater awareness of the stands and views of the various political forces.
The Review will devote special attention to legal information, bearing in mind that initial knowledge of information is one of the essential elements of a democratic society. The links between the citizens and their government are strong only when their concerns, that is, the concerns of the public, are reflected in the relevant legislation. This role of the public is closely linked with the concept of legitimacy. The citizens who consider their government legitimate are more likely to obey its laws. Participation of the public in the legislative process is very important for a democratic society. In this context, the need to find the ways and means to ensure the necessary information for the education of the public and the consolidation of the information on the institutions becomes vital.
Likewise, if we say that the concept of legitimacy of a government implies that the citizens have information about the institutions that represent them, we have to admit that knowledge by the public of the parliamentary activity and practices leaves to be desired. Therefore a transparent reflection of this activity would be a step forward for the participation of the public and the civic society in parliamentary procedures and one more effort toward development of democracy.
It is a fact that our country did not have a tradition in Parliamentary Law. Our recent and distant history is a clear testimony to this. Our Review aims to open a window to a theoretical-scientific treatment of Parliamentary Law, which originates in the source of legislative institutions, namely, elections, and continues with the way the institution of the Assembly is treated, the way it is organized, functions, makes decisions, exerts control over the executive, and so on. The deputy as an individual institution will be treated from the theoretical aspects of his status, such as immunity and irreconcilability, etc.
Bearing in mind the integrating process of Albania into Europe and beyond, it is important for the Albanian public to know and follow up the issues that are discussed today on an international level. Through our Review, the QSPPD will, among others, acquaint the Albanian public with the European experiences, such as the proceedings of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the Inter-parliamentary Union, the NATO Assembly, and others. This will serve to further improve parliamentary practices, raise problems, put forward alternative ideas for these issues and provide specialized information to help the public become better versed in the amendments to the Albanian legislation, the problems and achievements in this field.
The most important objective of the Center for Parliamentary Studies and Democratic Practices will however remain to render a contribution, no matter how modest it may be, to the development of parliamentary democracy and enhancement of the effectiveness of legislative process.
Taking this opportunity, we wish to thank in particular the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) for their financial support, which made possible the publication of this Review.
Center of Parliamentary
and Democratic Studies