After two months and countless debates and legal proceedings, the local elections are finally over, or so it seems. Against all facts and expectations that pointed towards a revote in Tirana, the Electoral College on July 8 confirmed Lulzim Basha as the new mayor of Tirana with 93 votes more than his opponent, Edi Rama.
The Socialist Party, headed by Rama, won the major cities including Tirana, but dubious legal proceedings by the Central Electoral Commission, heavily criticized by OSCE-ODIHR, changed the result—which on May 14, when the counting process in Tirana finished, saw Rama winning by just 10 votes.
There were two main problems in Tirana. One votes were counted that were found in other ballot boxes. Two, in the final result from the Central Electoral Commission there are more votes than voters.
For the first issue there are no clear answers in the electoral code, but in the local elections of 2007 these votes were considered invalid. The same thing happened again in 2011. According to the preliminary report by OSCE-ODIHR mission in Albania, these votes were considered invalid until May 14 when the counting process finished and Basha lost by 10 votes.
“Counting team members were apparently trained to consider any such ballots as invalid, and miscast ballots were considered invalid in Tirana through the conclusion of counting for the Tirana mayoral race on 14 May,” the report said. In the voting centers there were people assigned especially for instructing voters to cast the vote in the proper box, otherwise the vote would be considered invalid. During the counting process all over Albania these votes were considered invalid and the process went smoothly and without problems.
Full Article: Albania’s Labyrinthine Local Elections – Worldpress.org.