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News 13 Jul 17

Rama Shames Albania's 100 Least Helpful Officials

After ordering his MPs to take a listening tour - and after examining people's comments on his Facebook page - Prime Minister Edi Rama has started naming and shaming those who are giving people a hard time. 

Fatjona Mejdini
BIRN
Tirana
Edi Rama during the electoral campaign. Photo: Rama's Facebook page

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama on Wednesday published a list of 100 names of people holding positions in the public administration and the judiciary - all accused of not being very helpful to ordinary citizens.

Ahead of the formation of a new government in Albania in September, Rama told his Socialist MPs to take a 30-day listening tour to hear what people want and expect of the reformed public administration.

His team have also looked at feedback that citizens shared with him on Facebook, over the many hurdles they face when dealing with the public administration.

Rama said the name and shame list was prepared by a working group that monitored 2,068 citizens' comments on Facebook. Seventy of the names work in government institutions and 30 are from the judiciary.

He ordered the listening tour to start soon winning the June 25 general election in which his Socialist Party won enough seats to run the government alone.

On Wednesday, the former Vice Prime Minister, Niko Peleshi said the government had created a working group on restructuring the public administration to make it more transparent for citizens.

"We want to build a culture of joint roundtables, where representatives of the community sit with their MPs and members of the central government, sharing problems," he said.

Reform of the public administration, and making it independent of political parties, was one of the key themes of Rama's election campaign.

He urged people to vote for the Socialists alone, in order to not give smaller parties the right to sit in coalitions and demand the employment of their people in the public administration.

The pitch evidently succeeded. Rama's party won 74 out of 120 seats in parliament.

During the campaign, Rama accused the smaller parties of running a culture of nepotism in the public administration.

"An important aspect of the 30-days listening tour is gathering data on how the offices of the public administration should work ... A report will emerge from the data of every sector and its performance - and this will be the first document in the intray of the new government," Rama wrote on July 5 when the tour started.

On July 8, on Facebook, he urged people to list their negative experiences with the public administration; some 2,500 people soon replied.

Earlier, Rama asked all those who had created successful careers within or outside the country to write and say if they wanted to be part of Albania's new administration.

Raising the capacities of the public administration and its depoliticisation is also one of the five criteria that Albania needs to meet in order to open accession talks with the European Union.

On June 10, the EU ambassador to Tirana, Romana Vlahutin, considered reform of the public administration in Albania crucial and difficult at the same time.

This was "not only because of the lack of consistent capacity, nepotism, and patronage, corruption be it petty or big ... but also because there is never enough investment in people, because salaries are often lower than in the competitive private sector, and [because of a] workplace environment that does not care for talent," she said.

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