Opposition seeks early elections under condition of electoral reform

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 6, 2019 09:26

Opposition seeks early elections under condition of electoral reform

Story Highlights

  • “We must guarantee to Albanians a complete transparency of party financing sources and sane ways to use them. Electoral campaigning cannot be something costly, it is something unacceptable to Albanians, there should be also reporting transparency and an efficient way to control who has broken the law and then to punish them, as in all European countries,” Bylykbashi said.

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TIRANA, Oct. 6 – The opposition has further increased called for early elections, as its leader Lulzim Basha is no longer saying he will not accept elections with Edi Rama as the country’s Prime Minister, but that an electoral reform is necessary for the opposition to compete fairly.

The opposition said on Wednesday it is already completing its draft for electronic identification and e-voting. 

Some of this issue’s most important points were discussed during the Electoral reform group meeting on Tuesday, which lasted for more than two hours. 

E-voting has been the opposition’s Democratic Party main proposition also when it was part of the Parliament’s Special Electoral Reform Commission. 

Sources from the meeting said that opposition members are unified in thinking that e-voting success can not come from a pilot project, but from its implementation in the entire country.

After also consulting with electoral reform experts, former MP Oerd Bylykbashi spoke about party financing and campaigning. 

According to Bylykbashi, the DP and its allies will seek in their draft party financing transparency and a lower electoral campaigning cost. 

“We must guarantee to Albanians a complete transparency of party financing sources and sane ways to use them. Electoral campaigning cannot be something costly, it is something unacceptable to Albanians, there should be also reporting transparency and an efficient way to control who has broken the law and then to punish them, as in all European countries,” Bylykbashi said. 

He also stated the opposition will increase work intensity for its version of the electoral alternative this week so that it can provide a product as soon as possible.

He did not directly say to who the opposition draft will be addressed to, but insinuated the connecting bridge between the opposition and the governing majority will be the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the ODIHR. 

“The OSCE as an organization and the OSCE/ODIHR together have offered continuous help and contribution not only through the years, but also during these elections. The OSCE/ODIHR report on the 2019 local elections is one of the most unique documents concerning Albanian elections that aims to show the way by pointing its finger on one of the most fundamental problems. Parties must understand this. Elections are for Albanians, but voters and parties serve as representation agents. What is happening in Parliament currently has nothing to do with this concept,” Bylykbashi said. 

He further accused the government of acting against the OSCE/ODIHR recommendations and that the opposition is fully engaged towards the reform, which was one of the nine conditions the German Bundestag gave Albania to open negotiations with the EU. 

According to him, if Rama had the will for free and fair elections, the electoral reform would not have been an added homework for the country.

“Our stand is clear. The electoral reform has to be real and complete. The OSCE/ODIHR clearly state this. The Law, the Electoral Code and the legislation are enough to hold democratic elections,” Bylykbashi concluded. 

Concerning party financing, the opposition plans to propose that it is conducted entirely from money stemming from the state budget, in order to avoid private financing from dubious sources. Parallel to this, it proposed that private financing of parties be criminalized. 

 

Opposition begins local meetings with youth

The united and resigned opposition recently also started the tour ‘Roadmapping Albania,’ which marks meetings with youths in different cities – so far Elbasan, Korca and Shkodra.

Quoting the World Bank report that corruption in Albania is higher than in 2005, Basha said from Shkodra that today corruption in Albania is considered one of the worst in the world.

Basha says such an economy does not provide opportunities for young people, whose departure is a big blow.

“This economy offers no job opportunities, no business, a suffocating climate for small business in particular but also for big business and only one can be held responsible for the total failure of direct foreign investments. Across Albania, youth migration is bad, the worst here in Shkodra. I have been from some of Shkodra’s neighborhoods to its deepest areas, heard and seen grades from first to third closed due to lack of students in some villages. One week ago in Vukatan, overnight, 30 people left. From immigration alone Albania loses 560 million euros annually,” Basha said in Shkodra.

He further added Albania has all the potential to keep its youth here and to help itself develop.

We have to come together because these problems have only one author, so we have to formulate these solutions and make them a reality. We have to direct this race towards institutions, economics, science, giving everyone an equal opportunity. Shkodra lacks nothing, this city is blessed with natural beauty, blessed with its youth. We just have to have a government that has the vision, the will to create the conditions, the right climate for businesses, to attract foreign investment, create new jobs, return to the global race, return to welfare and decent job offers local, in our country,” Basha said. 

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 6, 2019 09:26