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.Full Article: Albanian elections will test EU ambitions | European Voice.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Albania.
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.Full Article: Disputed polls loom as Albania electoral commission defunct on eve of vote | GlobalPost.
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.Full Article: Old habits die hard as Albania election draws near - BUSINESS NEW EUROPE.
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.Full Article: U.S. prods Albania to end election commission "charade" - chicagotribune.com.
Albania’s parliament sacked an election official on Monday despite warnings from the country’s international partners that the move could damage domestic and overseas confidence in June parliamentary elections. The fresh political row came after Prime Minister Sali Berisha saw his main coalition ally jump ship to join the opposition ahead of the June 23 elections, but its representative in the seven-member Central Election Commission (CEC) stay put.Full Article: Albania sacks poll official despite international warnings | Reuters.
Opposition parties have condemned efforts by the ruling Democrats to replace a member of the Central Electoral Commission, CEC, after the Democrats’ junior partner quit the government. The Democrats have asked parliament to relieve one of the seven election commissioners, who had been nominated by the Socialist Movement for Integration, LSI. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Sali Berisha declared that the move was justified, based on a 2003 agreement between the majority and the opposition.Full Article: Albanian parties battle over election commission.
OSCE is preparing another report on Albania about the political situation in the country, including even the elections, which were held on 8 May of this year.
OSCE Ambassador in Tirana, Eugen Wollfarth will report to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna, in early September on political developments in Albania.
In an unprecedented statement, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle lamented yesterday (19 July) the failures of the Albanian electoral system, urging the EU hopeful to undertake deep parliamentary reform.
Ashton and Füle lamented the fallout from the recent mayoral vote in Tirana and used simple and unusual wording to convey the message that the electoral system in Albania needs “urgent” and “thorough” reform. “The elections in Tirana were not good as they demonstrated beyond doubt that the electoral framework needs to be reformed,” the top EU officials stated.Full Article: Albania unable to hold elections, EU admits | EurActiv.
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.Full Article: Albania's Labyrinthine Local Elections - Worldpress.org.
The Electoral College late Monday night ordered a full recount of the contested ballots in the key race for mayor of Tirana, throwing the results of the poll back into doubt. The decision came after a Socialist opposition appeal which contested several decisions by the Central Election Commission, CEC, including the one that declared the ruling party candidate the winner of the race for the municipality of Tirana.
Contested ballots are ballot papers that have been designated by at least one representative of a political party in the counting stations as irregular. It is not yet clear what effect the re-evaluation will have in the final tally for the Tirana race.Full Article: Albania Court Orders Recount Of Contested Ballots.
Albanians cast ballots Sunday to elect the local authorities amid reports of incidents among political rivals following an election campaign marred by violence.
The main focus of the poll is the capital, Tirana, where the leader of the opposition and three-time Mayor Edi Rama is running for re-election against former Interior Minister Lulzim Basha of the governing Democratic Party. The first preliminary results are expected Monday, according to election officials.Full Article: Albania holds local elections amid unrest - CBS News.