Electoral reform, parties remain at crossroads

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 1, 2020 10:43

Electoral reform, parties remain at crossroads

TIRANA, June 1- Progress on the electoral reform in Albania remains in a rut as parties are struggling to reach a final agreement. The latest meeting of the Political Council which took place on Sunday left things unsolved once again, despite the intervention of a representative of the US Embassy, ​​who met with Socialist Party representative Damian Gjiknuri and Democratic Party rep. Oerd Bylykbashi, to then sit down with two other members of the Political Council, Petrit Vasili and Rudina hajdari.

Both SP and DP representatives clashed on several points of the electoral reform, unable to conclude it. According to Bylykbashi, the SP was not ready to reach a consensus on "important issues", sticking to its main priorities.

"We are ready to continue the work to find this consensus and we are waiting for the SP to show readiness to take its steps towards consensus, as we have done the necessary concessions, " he added.

On the other hand SP member Damian Gjiknuri said that the electoral reform was ready and based on OSCE/ODHIR recommendations as well as conditions set by the DP, but added that there wasn't any room for new ones.

Bylykbashi emphasized that the DP is ready to compromise, without "giving up basic guarantees." Let us give the SP time to understand why it cannot be the College to put the wet stamp on the scoreboard, to understand that the CEC will not be the shameful institution that is today, which is [the SP's] property," he said.

"The process of setting up an administration," according to Bylykbashi, "cannot be masked by SP commissioners as independent, and all of this must be inextricably linked to guaranteeing 100 percent biometric voter identification."

However, Gjiknuri claimed that the DP has an issue with the vetting process, as it refuses to recognize it as part of the electoral reform.

Although the parties expressed readiness to renegotiate, no meeting was not scheduled. Gjiknuri even hinted that the parliamentary procedure would continue. "The doors and windows of communication for the opposition are open to continue and conclude those few things that they have begun to change their minds about. Let the opposition join us to advance this process. The parliament is legitimate, it has votes, and the wait cannot be endless," Gjiknuri said.

Responding to Sunday's events, U.S. Ambassador Yuri Kim urged parties to deliver on their promises regarding the electoral reform.

"All sides have shown movement and they are extremely close. You set a goal, you set a deadline of May 31. It is time now to stop insisting on non-viable positions and/or setting new conditions," Ambassador Kim wrote on Twitter.

British Ambassador to Albania Duncan Norman joined other international voices in calling for the conclusion of the reform, stating that "the Political Council was designed to bring inclusive electoral reform in Albania to meet ODIHR requirements. Today is the day to put the people of Albania first and to find the common ground necessary to move the country forward."

On Friday, Ambassador Kim and EU Ambassador to Albania Luigi Soreca stated that it was necessary for parties to reach an agreement on the reform by May 31.

"Important to make progress on the Electoral Reform in the Political Council. We welcome the constructive attitude taken by all sides and we invite them to continue working with a view to reaching an overall agreement by 31.5," Soreca wrote on Twitter.


Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 1, 2020 10:43