Majority and new opposition reach electoral reform agreement

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 16, 2020 11:12

Majority and new opposition reach electoral reform agreement

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  • They agreed to discuss and draft the reform outside parliament, at the political parties’ table, and the meeting’s consensual product to be adopted without amendments by the commission and parliament.

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TIRANA, Jan. 15 – The country’s main political forces reached an agreement on Tuesday to carry out the electoral reform by March 15. 

A group of four members representing the three main parties – Damian Gjiknuri, Rudina Hajdari, Oerd Bylykbashi and Petrit Vasili – agreed to adopt the electoral reform in a transparent, inclusive and consensual way among political parties.

They agreed to discuss and draft the reform outside parliament, at the political parties’ table, and the meeting’s consensual product to be adopted without amendments by the commission and parliament.

Representatives of the united opposition, leaders of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform, as well as representatives of parliamentary groups in the parliament, attended the Political Council set up between the government and the opposition.

The majority agreed not to amend the agreed product with the opposition, in the commission or in the plenary commission. 

In addition to the OSCE / ODIHR recommendations, the parties agreed to discuss any other electoral issues that serve to achieve international election standards.

The meeting between Socialist and Democratic representatives took place shortly after the resigned opposition leader Lulzim Basha declared alongside other allies that “the resolution of the political crisis will come through early parliamentary elections on the same day as local elections, with an electoral code addressing the problems of vote buying, voter intimidation, pressure on the electoral administration, depoliticisation of the State Police, electoral infrastructure, ID cards, civil status register, address register, media freedom, non-voting secrecy and a political instrument that guarantees the political will to enforce any existing law or to be amended by the consensus of all political forces, with transparency and civic inclusion.”

For his part, Prime Minister Edi Rama welcomed the inter-party agreement. 

“Beyond more than a year lost in the path of conflict leading to the extreme irrationality, this rational return to the Dialogue Roundtable on Election Reform should be commemorated, where all OSCE/ODHIR recommendations will be integrated into the Electoral Law,” wrote Rama on social networks.

The US Embassy to Albania welcomed the parties agreeing to work together on electoral reform, an important step to fully address the ODIHR recommendations.

“The reform will support efficient and credible electoral processes and will strengthen Albanian democracy. We hope that the parties continue to move forward with this current spirit of cooperation, to ensure that the elections in Albania are free from fraud, interference and corruption,” the US Embassy in Albania said in a statement.

The agreement between the main political forces was also welcomed by the European Union. The head of the EU mission in Tirana, Luigi Soreca, said today’s political agreement is an important achievement for restoring political stability in Albania and for the path to EU integration.

“We welcome today’s inter-party agreement on the way forward for a comprehensive electoral reform, in line with OSCE-ODIHR recommendations. We believe that all parties will continue to work together to complete a timely electoral reform, which will be approved by Parliament, to the benefit of the Albanian citizens and their European future,” Soreca wrote on social media. .

The OSCE Presence in Albania welcomed today’s political agreement on electoral reform. 

“We see this agreement as an important first step towards a comprehensive and timely reform that will address all OSCE / ODIHR recommendations to the benefit of all Albanian citizens,” the statement said, underlining that it remains ready to continue assisting the electoral reform.

The opposition has long been demanding early elections through many protests and believes that electoral reform can bring them closer, while the Socialists think electoral reform should be tried out through regular elections.

It remains to be seen whether the parliamentary opposition MPs will react if they vote unanimously on the reform drafted in good faith at a political table outside parliament.

Rudina Hajdari, co-chair of the parliamentary commission on electoral reform, attended today’s roundtable, and further said she needed to talk with her opposition colleagues in parliament.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 16, 2020 11:12