Zef Preci, head of the independent, non-governmental Albanian Center for Economic Research, critically assesses progress and setbacks in Albania’s civil service reforms. He says that despite a civil service law aimed at creating a merit-based civil service insulated from politics, the hiring and firing of civil servants had become highly politicized and retained many of the characteristics of the former communist system. The focus is upon patronage rather than services to the public. He is critical of international donors for looking the other way. He believes that the army and police have been de-politicized and were forces for good.
At the time of this interview, Zef Preci was the founding head of the independent, non-governmental Albanian Center for Economic Research, established in 1992 as Albania's first independent, non-governmental organization dedicated to research and analysis in support of a market economy and democracy. He served briefly in 2000 as the minister of public economy and privatization before he returned to ACER as its director. Later, he was an adviser to Albania's president and chairman of the Authority for Competition. During his career, he also was a lecturer in entrepreneurial economics at Tirana University.