Electoral Reform, parties reach agreement

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 6, 2020 13:44

Electoral Reform, parties reach agreement


TIRANA, June 6 - The government and the opposition reached an agreement on the electoral reform on Friday evening, after hours of discussions regarding the depoliticization of the election administration, one of the basic OSCE / ODIHR recommendations.

Based on the agreement, the same structure will remain as regards representatives of political parties. The issue of depoliticization was not well-received by the opposition representatives, as they were reluctant towards the fact that public administration officials would be involved in election commissions, therefore leading to the ruling party backing down.

"The Democratic Party was not ready. We did not want the DP to oppose this election law at all costs and why not serve as a reason for not recognizing the elections tomorrow or even not running in the election. We also sacrificed important ODIHR recommendations, only for the DP to enter the political race. This is the most important thing that has been achieved, " declared the SP representative Damian Gjiknuri.

On the other hand, Oerd Bylykbashi of the Democratic Party and Petrit Vasili of the LSI, said that the depoliticization was an attempt for the ruling party to take over the election commissions. "He couldn't take over them and withdrew. "

However, they added that parties had agreed to fully implement biometric identification, as well as to reform the Central Election Commission. According to the agreement, "the assessment will be made by the CEC, with the support of an international expertise, while the Government guarantees timely funding for implementation, as far as it is technically possible."

US Ambassador Yuri Kim, who together with the EU Ambassador Luigi Soreca strongly encouraged a compromise between the parties, said after the meeting of the Political Council that "each party and each person gave their contribution but has also gave up on something. And they did this so that Albania would benefit. This is a moment of pride, " she said, adding that "some will criticize this agreement as insufficient, but if we look at it in a broader context, this is a big step forward, and I hope it will be something from which anyone can benefit. "


EU Ambassador Soreca also said that the EU welcomed the agreement, which "came as a result of an all-inclusive process that began in January." He further stressed that "from this evening, Albania is closer to the European Union, because one of the conditions for the opening of negotiations, will be met soon. This also comes at a very good time, as next week comes. The European Commission will also propose the framework of negotiations that will be the basis for EU integration. So let's move forward."

The agreement was also welcomed by the OSCE Presence in Tirana. "It is commendable that all political parties became part of this process and that their constructive proposals as well as their ability to compromise and accept different views contributed to an important step forward for democracy in Albania, for the benefit of the Albanian citizens."an official statement reads.

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Although President Ilir Meta welcomed the consensus reached between the parties, the agreemen tcannot be considered complete, according to Meta. "Positive news, but not enough to guarantee free and fair elections," he said, later adding that "the culture of consensus must continue for other conditions to accelerate the opening of negotiations."

Basha took to Twitter to express his reaction, calling the agreement "a step forward, to provide more guarantees for free and fair elections in Albania. The Democratic Party and the United Opposition are ready and are working every day to return the government to the Albanians."

As for Monika Kryemadhi, LSI leader, "today's result in the Political Council, achieved with the contribution of international partners is positive and must be implemented without wasting time, with integrity, as required by the next EU condition."

In a joint statement, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi congratulated the political parties on reaching an agreement.

"The new Electoral Code provisions, once adopted by the Parliament, will give Albania an electoral process with higher integrity and transparency standards, based on OSCE/ODIHR recommendations, including the gradual depoliticisation of the electoral administration," the statement reads adding that They address a key condition to start EU accession negotiations, as stated in the Council conclusions of March 2020, thereby moving Albania one step closer to its EU future.  This bodes well for future progress on reforms needed on Albania's EU path.

Finally, Sólrún Gísladótti, Director of ODHIR, welcomed the agreement, but added that it "now needs to be codified, adopted and implemented. ODIHR stands ready to continue supporting the reform process."​

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 6, 2020 13:44