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This article examines the Albanian political regime, as a single case study, for the period 2013-2021, as part of the Western Balkans' experience of democratic backsliding, by investigating the framework of factors linked with the formidable challenge posed by the emergence of a hybrid regime of Albania in these years. For the first time in Albania’s post-communist history, the incumbent Socialist Party of Albania won for the third time in a row the parliamentary elections of April 2021, thus making the bid for the power of the leading opposition parties much harder. This paper uses country-expert statistical data from V-Dem and qualitative data analyses. The study reveals that the over-reliance on strong leaders, the growing government control over public life, fragmentation of the opposition, its lack of appeal, organization, and mobilization, the boycott of the parliamentary mandates, combined with the weakening role of media and distrust of the citizens in democratic institutions, led to the resurgence of the authoritarian mechanisms, making the liberal democratic transformation in Albania an increasingly challenging task.
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