Majority of CEC rulings are illegitimate, OSCE report says

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 17, 2019 07:50

Majority of CEC rulings are illegitimate, OSCE report says

TIRANA, June 16 – The OSCE, in its domestic report on local elections in Albania, published on June 14, has confirmed that the Socialist Party is currently the only party running in the 31 municipalities of the country.

This means that residents of these municipalities have been deprived of the right to a truly democratic vote.

The report states that “the Electoral Code does not provide for any special procedure for elections without opponents.”

The OSCE/ODIHR conclusions present a grim picture of the state of the legal framework in which elections are supposed to take place.

“Many previous OSCE recommendations remain unaddressed, including those related to the impartiality of election commissions, transparency of campaign funding, decriminalization of defamation, and the mechanism for electoral disputes.”

Moreover, the report mentions the politicization of the Central Election Commission (CEC), which currently is made up of five of the seven members to be appointed, four of whom have been nominated by the Socialist Party.

Also, Electoral Zone Commissions (CEAZ) are controlled by the Socialist majority, as the Electoral College has denied the opposition the right to have its commissioners in the CEAZs.

The OSCE notes that the CEC decision, confirmed by the Electoral College, does not support the Electoral Code.

“Whereas, the provisions of the Electoral Code on the composition of the election administration refer to the political parties representing the parliamentary majority and the parliamentary opposition, with its decision No. 657 of 23 May 2019, [CEC] conditioned the right to nominate commissioners to take part in elections.”

The report further mentions the controversial exclusion that the CEC made of the new party, the Democratic Obedience, led by Astrit Patozi, due to the obligation to collect the necessary signatures to register as an electoral subject.

The OSCE also notes that the media scene is more concentrated on the hands of a few oligarchs than ever before.

“The completion of the digitalization process resulted in a single family controlling three out of five national private frequencies,” the report stated.

This is Hoxha family, owner of Top Channel television, which has been closely linked with Prime Minister Rama since he was the mayor of Tirana. Also, the architect of the house of Prime Minister Rama in Surrel is also the architect of the monumental tomb of Dritan Hoxha.

Meanwhile, there is little accountability over the use of media by political parties, and the CEC has failed to set up a Media Monitoring Board within legal deadlines.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 17, 2019 07:50