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Democracy Decline and Shrinking Civic Space – How to reverse the trends?

Shrinking civic space has been a symptomatic manifestation of democratization backslide in Albania during 2015-2020, culminating in 2018-2020. The policy paper builds on the assumption that a strong civic space contributes to the consolidation of democracy and if progress in such direction is halted, shrinking civic space becomes a symptom of democratization backslide. It focuses on the identification of the particular governmental policies and practices that have affected civic space in Albania during 2015-2020, based on the analysis of three civic actors: civil society organizations, media, and citizenry.

The paper introduces the problem of shrinking civic space in Albania during 2015-2020, offering a definition and brief grey literature review based on reports and policy analyses. It provides a general analysis of enacted legislation on civic space. Then continues with the application of policies on the enabling environment of CSOs and the government’s practices and policies towards the media. Citizens’ participation in the decision-making process and the civic response towards governmental policy follow the analysis. The loop closes with the effects of COVID-19 pandemics in the civic space of Albania in 2020. The paper ends with concluding remarks and recommendations on how to reverse trends of democratization decline and shrinking civic space in Albania.

Click to download the English and/or the Albanian language version.

This paper was prepared in the framework of the policy forum project “Shrinking civic space in Albania’s democracy”, organized by the Institute for Democracy and Mediation, Tirana, and implemented with the financial support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The findings of the paper were presented in the policy forum, held in Tirana, on 25 November 2020. Opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.