Giving rewards and promises for the first time in Albania’s electoral system, the crime of violation of political corruption in the criminal code is foreseen as a new figure in Article 328 of the Criminal Code. Rewarding is in the criminal system that kills democracy in its most crucial part, in the most important place, in the plebiscite freedom of voting. It does not enrich democracy but “gives” it inimitable damage, killing freedom.
It is known that political corruption can not be tolerated in a democracy; it erodes the meaning and the voting mechanism of democracy. Sin breaks the link between collective decision-making and the people’s power to influence collective decision-making through speech, voting, and other actions that characterize democracy. It is essential to fight political corruption because it reduces the significant scope of public activity and, consequently, the spread of democracy by turning public agencies of collective action into personal gain tools. Thus, it shrinks the size of democracy.
Therefore, any trust that the electorate can give to the representatives cannot be based on the results: no representative can present them. Even in optimal circumstances, the results would reflect a mixture of interests and competing voices. The trust given to the representative has grounds when the reasons he provides for the position he holds are, in fact, the reasons that explain the vote, the deal, or the compromise he makes. Citizens should be able to believe that their representatives’ decision is not the result of the many voices that have bought the opportunity to influence with the contributions they have made during the campaign. In a democracy, policy-making should be a public process.
In terms of representation, it can only be a general process if citizens believe that the discussion process is inclusive and forms the basis on which the decision is based. The most common form of representation corruption is the buying and selling votes in elections and the distribution of influence in parliamentary elections.
But these are not the only objects of corruption. The legitimacy of the results depends on the justification that stems from the discussion process. The questionable dimension of representation must therefore be far more inclusive than voting: even those who lose can try to persuade their representative or organize debates in the public sphere through which they can influence their representative – if not directly through persuasion, or indirectly by changing the minds of those expected to vote in the next election.
Thus, political corruption is called the abuse by a politician of state power or political authorities for the personal benefit of a family or a small group of people to the detriment of society’s usefulness as a whole. The criminal offense of corruption in the electoral system is the legal relations established by the law on elections, for the presentation of candidates in elections, which ensures the right to vote according to a democratic system’s principles. The forms in which it can be done are different: from giving money by the person interested in the figure of a particular candidate, conditioning the freedom of the vote not through violence or intimidation, but by offering cash or promises for jobs or favors others; when the option is exchanged for rewards or securities, it does not matter how many votes are enough and one, means that no one is freer, not only the one who exchanges votes but all citizens.
Because democracy is everyone’s freedom only if everyone’s power is the same for everyone, suppose one’s ability is more significant (because they control more than one vote). Others’ power is less (because he holds only himself). In that case, equality of power no longer exists, and consequently, freedom no longer exists.
This is what happens with the “power” – “sovereignty belongs to the people” – the Constitution provides, and we exercise this right through voting. If someone has more power than you, controls, and the votes of others, your power only weakens until it all disappears. Which means that you either vote as you will “master” or vote as you wish, he has the (criminal) power to make the result favorable to himself and you have. Also, the final votes’ work is not the real one or does not reflect the will of the people.
This is an immense moral and material damage not only because no one is free anymore except the criminal, no one is more sovereign except the criminal who is already “master,” but also above all because it creates a false political and administrative scene.
Voters’ perception of “payment” for their vote is different. The recipient may perceive these payments as gifts, actual prices, salaries, indemnities for the previous disregard during the term of office, a threat if non-acceptance of payment brings unpleasant consequences for the voter, as a sign that the candidate is strong and will win anyway, or in certain cultures may also be perceived as “resentment” towards the payer.
Another form provided by Article 328 KPRS is fraud through social interventions. The purpose of using these forms of corruption is to secure the signature of several persons by law for a candidate’s nomination. In the electoral system, the subject of crime can be any individual who offers promises or rewards, persons interested in the candidate’s victory in the election to vote for or against a particular candidate. The punishment is a fine or imprisonment of up to 6 months.
I repeat that any way of promising or accepting the exchange of votes is a crime. The question arises, then when we vote, what is not a crime?
We do not have a crime in voting when the citizen gives the vote only for ideal motives; it is not a crime only when the option is motivated virtually, hoping that the voter reacts and speaks through the ballot for all citizens’ benefit. We can say that Albania, as a country with a long transition, undoubtedly has had and still has problems regarding the exchange of votes for personal gain. Nevertheless, we have no decision from the Albanian courts regarding this phenomenon.