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.
Berisha’s government survived last week with the votes of three disgruntled opposition lawmakers and their votes again helped sack the election official and bring the commission back under the effective control of his ruling Democratic Party.
“You are asking to destroy the current balance. This is wrong, agreements should be respected,” Berisha told the opposition Socialist Party before thanking its three breakaway lawmakers for voting with the government.
During the vote, one opposition lawmaker unsuccessfully tried to prevent a colleague voting for the government move by pulling him out of the chamber.
The Socialists called it a Pyrrhic victory for Berisha and said neither he nor Albania would gain by “staining” the process.
The CEC certifies the results of elections administered by party militants who often show less regard for the law than for party orders, leading to charges of manipulation and fraud.