Sunday, May 26, 2024

WHY IS PARTIAL ADMINISTRATION A DANGER TO DEMOCRACY?

The Republic of North Macedonia, as well as other countries of the region with a communist past, are still making efforts for reforms – professionalization and departmentalization of the administration. The one-party partisanship of the past, since the 1990s, has been replaced by multi-party partisanship. This makes democracy not fully functional, which fails to deliver the expected results for the citizens.

Author: Xhelal Neziri

After the Second World War, during the rule of Josef Stalin with the Soviet Union, the most brutal form of totalitarian rule was also installed in the countries of Eastern Europe. After his death in 1953, during the rule of Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev, some Eastern European countries were given more autonomy to chart their own “communist path”. But Moscow’s control over these states, which were part of the Warsaw Pact, remained strong because of the party administration installed in their state systems by governments loyal to Moscow. Such a situation, which was called “the long transition from a totalitarian regime to a post-totalitarian one”, lasted until the 90s. At this time, when the attempts at economic and political reforms of the Soviet Union led by the last president Mikhail Gorbachev failed, the democratization of states that were tired of the unsuccessful and repressive one-party system began. Gorbachev’s announcement at the UN in 1998 that the USSR planned to withdraw troops from Central and Eastern Europe was a signal to governments loyal to Moscow that they would be left vulnerable, a moment that further fueled democratic currents within these countries.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PARTY AND THE STATE

The first problem that arose after the transition from a totalitarian to a democratic regime was the lack of a clear distinction between the party and the state. The administration was created to serve the party, or else it was the party itself. This meant that after the fall of the communist party, the fall of the state bureaucracy also began. This created the need to replace the old regime administration with a new anti-regime one, which was inexperienced in implementing the new democratic system. East Germany was faced with this situation, which decided on a complete purge of the administration and its replacement with a new one. But even in the cases when it was decided to reform the existing administration – as happened with Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and the states that emerged from the former Yugoslavia – similar problems for democracy appeared.

Unlike East Germany, which managed to consolidate an administration capable of responding to new democratic challenges, in countries that chose reforms instead of purges, we still have major problems even today. The legacies of one-party rule, such as partisanship and unprofessionalism, make bureaucracy reforms a key prerequisite for a functioning democracy that delivers tangible results for citizens. Functional democracy does not only mean a legal state, but also democratic institutions and concrete results in solving citizens’ problems.

Usable or efficient state administration is essential to modern democracies. It can be said that bureaucrats are crucial in the functioning of these states, where elected politicians are often amateurs who have platforms legitimized by the majority in elections and these can only be implemented by a professional administration. Bureaucrats are a key factor in making institutions democratic and efficient, and thus a functional democracy.

ENDLESS REFORMS

The countries of Central and Eastern Europe today have a consolidated and professional administration due to the general consensus on reforms, but also due to the criteria set by the European Union (EU) within the European integration process. The Republic of North Macedonia, as well as other countries of the region with a communist past, are still making efforts for reforms – professionalization and departmentalization of the administration. The one-party partisanship of the past, since the 1990s, has been replaced by multi-party partisanship. This makes democracy dysfunctional, which fails to deliver the expected results for the citizens.

This situation contributes to the loss of faith that democracy can solve citizens’ problems. The latest IRI poll shows a significant decline in support for democracy as the best system. To the question “do you believe that democracy is the best form of government or not”, only 51 percent answered positively. Even the majority of the 18-35 age group said that another form of government is the same or better than democracy.

Since 2018, the proposal of the law on the senior management service is ready. It was prepared by the Ministry of Information Society and Administration, in cooperation with the non-governmental sector. The purpose of the law is to professionalize the administration by selecting directors through public competitions. This means that instead of the headquarters of the political parties, the officials of the third echelon should be elected by non-partisan commissions, made up of professionals. But the law, to this day, remained in the drawers of the ministry.

Të fundit