CoE: “June 30 elections did not strengthen country’s local democracy”

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 7, 2020 12:23

Story Highlights

  • Referring to the unsatisfactory situation that followed last year's local elections, Knape said Albania needs to follow the course of reforms.

Related Articles

TIRANA, Feb. 7 – A delegation from the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities comprised of Swedish Congress President Ander Knape, Norwegian President of the Chamber of Regions Gunn Marit Helgesen and French President of the Chamber of Local Authorities Xavier Cadoret said the country’s June 30 local elections “were not favorable in strengthening local democracy.”

The delegation was on a mission in Tirana from Wednesday to Friday to see with their own eyes the country’s local democracy situation, especially in the backdrop of the much-debated June 30 local elections that took place without the opposition.

The mission held meetings with various actors, including the President of the Republic Ilir Meta, the deputy minister of interior, the president of the central election commission, the chairman of the parliamentary group of the Socialist Party, the chairman of the opposition’s Democratic Party, the mayor of Tirana, representatives of the international diplomatic corps, NGOs and territorial self-government associations, as well as the Ombudsman.

Referring to the unsatisfactory situation that followed last year’s local elections, Knape said Albania needs to follow the course of reforms. 

“There is no functioning democracy at the State level without a pluralistic and vibrant democracy at the local level. The Congress will continue to support Albania in its efforts to consolidate territorial self-government through targeted comparison and cooperation. Strengthening consultations between central and local government and the fight against corruption are of particular importance to Congress in this regard,” said Knape.

It was Helgesen who said last year’s local elections brought less pluralism at the local level and further erosion of citizen trust towards this institution.

“Both the government and the opposition must not remain indifferent to such a situation and they must act responsibly, according to their specific roles in the democratic process, in order to secure elections that provide a pluralistic choice for voters, both nationally and locally,” emphasized Helgesen.

The next Congress monitoring mission regarding the European Charter of Local

Self-Government was announced by Cadoret. 

“Congress will return with a delegation to Albania in the spring to further assess the situation in the administrative-territorial reform implemented since 2015. The resulting report will be presented at the October plenary session in Strasbourg and will shed light on the implementation and the Charter provisions from Albania which are an important landmark of the democratic development of a country,” concluded Cadoret.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 7, 2020 12:23