Albanian opposition parties have laid out their five key conditions for political participation after signing a memorandum concerning the upcoming general election due on 18 June. Use of an electronic voter verification system and an electric count is the core demand of the memorandum, signed on Monday by 22 opposition parties led by the main opposition centre-right Democratic Party, PD. “We seek realization of the biometrical identification of votes, and electronic voting and counting with an integrated system all over the country,” the memorandum reads. The expulsion of convicted criminals from the electoral process is the second point, while severe penalties for those who buy or sell votes is the third.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Albania.
The conservative prime minister who dominated post-communist politics in Albania has conceded election defeat, taking personal responsibility for the heavy loss to the rival Socialists after losing the support of fed-up voters. Sali Berisha, who had been seeking a third straight term as prime minister in Sunday’s general election, also announced to party supporters late on Wednesday he would step down as leader of his center-right Democratic Party. The 68-year-old’s party was beaten handily. With nearly all of the votes counted, Socialist Edi Rama was ahead with 53 percent, compared to just 36 percent for the Democrats.
The European Union on Tuesday congratulated Albania for its “overall orderly” parliamentary election despite violent incidents, but urged the Balkan country to complete the process in accordance with international norms. “We condemn the reported cases of violence and expect that these incidents will be fully investigated and perpetrators brought to justice,” the EU‘s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said. “Now it is important that the remaining stages of the election process are conducted in line with EU and international standards,” they said.
Albanian authorities have started counting votes for the country’s general election, marred by gunfire at a polling station on Sunday which left one dead and two others wounded, APA reports quoting Xinhua. According to the latest data from the Central Election Commission, 226 ballot boxes out 1,422 in total in the region of Tirana have been counted, while similar progress was underway across the country. Preliminary results were expected later on Monday, whereas the official results are not expected to be announced until Tuesday. The Democratic Party has called on all political parties to proceed with calm and not to block the counting process.
One man was killed and three people were wounded in an apparently politically motivated shooting in Albania on Sunday during a crucial vote that could determine whether one of Europe’s poorest countries has a chance of joining the EU. The shootout in the northern town of Lac “might be related to the vote,” police spokeswoman Alma Katragjini told AFP without elaborating. The dead man was a 53-year old leftist opposition activist, said a source close to the Socialist-led coalition of former Tirana mayor Edi Rama, but this could not be independently confirmed. The source also said that one of the wounded was a candidate from the ruling Democratic party of conservative Prime Minister Sali Berisha, who is seeking his third mandate to lead Albania after eight years in power.
The Central Electoral Commission, CEC, has abandoned the planned use of new pilot technologies in the June 23 parliamentary elections, after tests revealed problems. The Electoral Code mandated the CEC to pilot two new election technologies for these elections: an electronic voter verification system, EVS, in the district of Tirana, and an electronic counting system in the region of Fier. But according to a CEC report 11 per cent of the identity cards tested could not be read from the machine. Tests with the EVS system in Tirana revealed that the system could not read deteriorated IDs or prevent attempts of multiple voting at different voting centres.
The people of Albania are to vote on Sunday (23 June) in an election seen as an important test of the country’s ambitions to join the European Union. The vote will come four days before an EU summit at which national leaders are expected to give the go-ahead for Serbia and Kosovo to advance to the next stages of their attempts to join the EU. Those votes of confidence will contrast with the slow progress that Albania has made since it applied for membership in 2009. At the start of the election campaign, the European Commission criticised the Albanian government for planning to call a referendum to push through reforms demanded by the EU.
Fears rose Saturday of yet another disputed election in Albania after the commission tasked with certifying the vote remained defunct a day before the Balkan country goes to the polls. Since the fall of communism two decades ago, elections in Albania, one of Europe’s poorest countries, have been disputed or marred by violence and allegations of irregularities. Tirana desperately needs to prove to its Western partners that it is able to hold fair polls that meet international standards if it is to have a shot at joining the EU. But on the eve of the polls, the Central Electoral Commission remained inoperational.
Albania’s general election on June 23 will be heavily scrutinised to determine if it’s free and fair. So far, the signs aren’t good. The latest hint that the EU is becoming increasingly worried came from the European watchdog charged with monitoring the election, no less. Ahead of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) setting up its mission in Albania on May 15, its chief Lamberto Zannier said his team were watching with concern the harsh rhetoric of the political debate. “We are expecting a very competitive electoral process in a challenging climate,” Zannier told reporters on May 2. Zannier cited in particular the growing spectre of extreme nationalism, the rise of which could have repercussions for the stability of the entire region. “We hope that there will not be excessive nationalism that could create elements of instability in the region,” he said. “The OSCE has invested so much in Albania”. Albanian nationalism is a new wildcard to the country’s elections, which previously were marred by the more typical unsavoury aspects such as intimidation, violence, vote-rigging and electoral fraud.
The United States has brought its influence to bear in Albania to try to end a stalemate over reconstituting the country’s electoral commission to assure free and fair voting in June. Albania, a member of NATO, has yet to hold an election deemed free and fair by international monitors in more than two decades since its transition to democracy from the Stalinist rule of late dictator Enver Hoxha. Albania’s government and opposition announced election coalitions to meet a Wednesday deadline, but said nothing about the dysfunctional Central Election Commission, prompting Washington to vent its displeasure publicly.