IRB – Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (Author)
According to Political Parties of Eastern Europe, the National Front (Balli Kombëtar: PBK) was formed before World War II, fought against the communists during the war and was subsequently banned by the Hoxha regime (Political Parties of Eastern Europe 2002, 706). Reforming in 1991, the party was referred to as a marginal political party after winning only three seats in the 1997 elections (ibid.). In the 2001 legislative elections, PBK campaigned as part of the Union for Victory Alliance (Europa 2002 2002, 422; Political Parties of the World 2002, 3) and shared in the 46 seats won by the coalition (CIA World Factbook 1 Jan. 2002; NSMR Oct. 2001).
One report noted that a rift between former PBK member Hysen Selfo (who was expelled after 1997) and Shpetim Rroqi (Roqi), the current chairman of the party, led to two parties claiming the National Front name (Albania 18 Apr. 2001). A June 2002 report differentiates between the "PBK [National Front Party]" and "Selfo's National Front Party" (ibid. 5 June 2002) while other reports refer to the latter as the "Party of [the] Democratic National Front [PBDK]" (Shekulli 25 Apr. 2001) and the Democratic National Front Party [PBKD] (ibid. 22 Apr. 2001).
According to Europa 2002, PBK is chaired by Ekrem Spahia (2002, 422); however, a number of sources identify Spahia as being the leader of the monarchist Movement of Legality Party (PLL) (CIA World Factbook 1 Jan. 2001; Political Parties of the World 2002, 3; ATA 8 June 2002; ibid. 8 Oct. 2001; ibid. 14 Apr. 1998; ibid. 1 Feb. 1997). Other reports indicate that the chairman of the PBK was Abaz Ermenji between 1995 and 2001 (Political Parties of the World 2002, 2; ATA 28 Oct. 2002; Albania 29 Oct. 2002), whereafter Shpetim Rroqi the former PBK deputy chairman, (Albania 4 Sept. 2002) was elected to replace Ermenji (ATA 28 Oct. 2002; Albania 29 Oct. 2002).
The party has a 19-member presidium (ibid.) called the "New National Council of PBK" that elects the Secretary-General, the Organizational Secretary, Public Relations Secretary and the deputy chairman (ATA 28 Oct. 2002). In 2002, it was reported that the election that brought Rroqi to chairmanship also saw 16 new individuals elected to the presidium and many former members "kicked out" (Albania 29 Oct. 2002). Other PBK party leaders identified in reports include Uran Metko, identified as both a parliamentary deputy (ATA 8 June 2002) and as Secretary-General (ibid. 13 Oct. 2002), "organisational secretary" Alfred Cako (Caka) and Mentor Quko (ibid. 28 Oct. 2002).
According to one source, the party claimed a membership of 12,300 in the mid-1990s with the majority of its support coming from older Albanians and ex-patriates (Political Parties of Eastern Europe 2002, 706). Current estimates of PBK membership were not found, and the sources consulted did not enable the Research Directorate to determine whether there is a registry of members for the party.
Political Parties of Eastern Europe noted that in the 1990s, the PBK maintained a national office and had a few district offices (2002, 706). The only official address found for the party was care of the Albanian parliament (Kuvënd Popullore) in Tirana (Political Parties of the World 2002, 3; Europa 2002 2002, 422). No further information concerning national and regional offices for the PBK was found among the sources consulted.
The PBK was a member of the electoral coalition, "United for Victory," along with the Democratic, the Republican, the Legality Movement parties, and the Liberal Union (OSCE 11 Oct. 2001; ATA 21 Apr. 2001). In September 2002, Rroqi claimed that this coalition was "not functioning" (Albania 4 Sept. 2002).
Among a group of parties referred to as "reformists" by one report, (Shekulli 14 Oct. 2002) following the 2002 election that party was reportedly in opposition to the governing Socialists and in support of government legislative reform (Albania 2 Aug. 2002). In the latter, the PBK was signatory to a declaration supporting improvements in the election system to reduce manipulation, the value of elections to Albanian democracy (Shekulli 14 Oct. 2002). In addition, representatives of the party signed a parliamentary petition supporting the return of the royal family, which signatories they considered it "a positive step toward the restoration of a right denied by communism and ten years of democracy" (Albania 6 Mar. 2002). However, the Research Directorate found no reports identifying the party as monarchist.
The Research Directorate found no reports of PBK members being mistreated by the government of Albania.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Albania [Tirana, in Albanian].
29 October 2002. "Albania: PBK Elects New Chairman."
(FBIS-EEU-2002-1029 29 Oct. 2002/WNC)
_____. 4 September 2002. Luli Progni.
"Albania: PBK's Rroqi Discusses Political Developments, Tcham
Question." (FBIS-EEU-2002-0904 4 Sept. 2002/WNC)
_____. 2 August 2002. "Albanian
Opposition Leasers Discuss Outlook for Institutional Reform."
(FBIS-EEU-2002-0802 2 Aug. 2002/WNC)
_____. 5 June 2002. Valentina Madani.
"Albania: Daily Views PD's Efforts to Mediate with PAD, New PD."
(FBIS-EEU-2002-0605 5 June 2002/WNC).
_____. 6 March 2002. "Albania: Deputies
from All Parties Favor Royal Family's Return." (FBIS-EEU-2002-0306
6 Mar. 2002/WNC)
_____. 18 April 2001. Valentina Madani.
"Albanian Opposition Allies Squabble Over Distribution of
Constituencies." (FBIS-EEU-2001-0418 18 Apr. 2001/WNC)
The Albania is described by
FBIS as being a pro-Democratic Party daily newspaper.
Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA)
[Tirana, in English]. 28 October 2002. "Albania: Shpetim Roqi Gets
68% of Votes to Head National Front Party." (FBIS-EEU-2002-1029 28
_____. 13 October 2002. "Albania:
Legality Party Leader Says Coalition of Opposition No Longer
Functions." (BBC Worldwide Monitoring 13 Oct. 2002/NEXIS)
_____. 8 June 2002. "Albanian Opposition
Parties Urge Election of President by Consensus." (BBC Worldwide
Monitoring 9 June 2002/NEXIS)
_____. 8 October 2001. "Albanian
Opposition Party Re-Elects Chairman." (BBC Worldwide Monitoring 9
_____. 21 April 2001. "Albania:
Opposition Parties Finalize Election Alliance." (BBC Worldwide
Monitoring 22 Apr. 2001/NEXIS)
_____. 14 April 1998. "Monarchists Cool
Towards Democrats' Alliance Proposal." (BBC Summary of Wolrd
Broadcasts 16 Apr. 1998/NEXIS)
_____. 1 February 1997. "Left and Right
Wing Parties Join Together to Urge Government's Resignation." (BBC
Summary of World Broadcasts 3 Feb. 1997/NEXIS)
CIA World Factbook 2002. 1
January 2002. "Albania." http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/al.html#Govt
[Accessed 13 Dec. 2002]
The Europa World Year Book
2002. 2002. 43rd ed. Vol. 2. London: Europa Publications.
Norwegian Institute for Human Rights
(NSMR). October 2001. Nordem Report Working Paper 2001:15.Nils
Gunnar Sangstad. "Albania: Parliamentary Elections 2001." http://www.humanrights.uio.no/forskning/publ/wp/wp_2001_15.htm
[Accessed 13 Dec. 2002]
Organization for Security and
Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). 11 October 2001. Office for
Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). "Republic of
Albania: Parliamentary Elections. 24 June - 19 August 2001." http://www.osce.org/odihr/documents/reports/election_reports/al/alb_june2001_efr.php3
[Accessed 13 Dec. 2002]
Political Parties of Eastern
Europe. 2002: Janusz Bugajski. Armonk, New York: M.E.
Political Parties of the World.
2002. 5th ed. Edited by Alan J. Day. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale
Shekulli [Tirana, in Albanian].
14 October 2002. "Albania: Eight Small Parties Object to
Consitutional Changes." (FBIS-EEU-2002-1015 14 Oct. 2002/WNC)
_____. 25 April 2001. Eva Londo.
"Albania: Three Parties Try to Form Coalition against Berisha."
(FBIS-EEU-2001-0425 25 Apr. 2001/WNC)
_____. 22 April 2001. Eva Londo.
"Albania's Democratic Party, Allies Sign Memorandum on Election
Cooperation." (FBIS-EEU-2001-0422 22 Apr. 2001/WNC)
FBIS describes Shekulli as a
major independent daily.
Additional Sources Consulted
Internet sites including:
Balli Kombetar Website
Democratic Party of Albania