Socialist majority is changing the constitution

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 24, 2020 10:27

Socialist majority is changing the constitution

TIRANA, July 24 - Constitutional amendments regarding the electoral form in Albania are taking shape as the Socialist majority will hold three plenary sessions scheduled for next week, in which the parliament is expected to officially approve the changes.

On Thursday, a striking majority of the parliamentary opposition cast their votes in favor of the June 5 Agreement, thus receiving the support of the Socialists regarding the constitutional changes which allow for an open list system and banning of pre-electoral coalitions.

Nevertheless, the Democratic Party and their allies have strongly opposed the proposed constitutional changes, claiming that the majority is making a unilateral decision.

However, Prime Minister Edi Rama reaffirmed today that constitutional changes will be voted during the next plenary session due to take place in the upcoming week.

The international community

The approval of the June 5 Agreement was welcomed by the United States Embassy in Tirana. "This act respects the agreement made by all parties and moves Albania another step forward towards the European Union. We applaud all parties for ensuring that the June 5 agreement has been achieved, honored, and implemented in a manner that is inclusive and transparent. Such inclusiveness and transparency should be the norm for undertaking significant national actions. In this respect, we welcome the decision to reconvene the Political Council to discuss additional electoral reforms. All parties should participate in good faith; explain their positions clearly and fully to each other and to the Albanian people; and seek a resolution that benefits all of the Albanian people and continues to move the country forward on its democratic path. ," the Embassy's statement reads.

Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi and the Delegation of the European Union in Tirana also welcomed the approvement of the June 5 Agreement, emphasizing that "it meets one of the main conditions for starting EU membership negotiations, as stated in the Council conclusions of March 25, 2020".

According to the EU delegation, "the new legislative provisions will give Albania an electoral framework with higher integrity and transparency standards, based on OSCE / ODIHR recommendations."

The OSCE Office in Tirana noted that "as with any reform, implementation is key. We remain ready to assist the Albanian authorities in this path, as well as for the development of other steps of reform. "We call on all parties to continue the dialogue for further reforms," ​​the OSCE statement concluded.

However, international voices also warned that discussions about the proposed constitutional amendments need to be inclusive.

According to the US embassy, ​​the "comprehensive and transparent way" in which the June 5 Agreement was implemented "should be a norm for undertaking important national acts."

In this regard, we welcome the decision to reconvene the Political Council to discuss further electoral reforms. All parties must participate in good faith; to explain their positions clearly and completely to each other and to the Albanian people; and to seek a solution that is in the best interest of the entire Albanian people and continues to move the country forward on its democratic path."

The Delegation of the European Union on its part notes that "while acknowledging the role of the Parliament in putting forward additional changes regarding the electoral system, we urge all parties to continue discussions in the Political Council with the same inclusive and collaborative spirit. The process leading to additional changes should not harm the spirit and results of the June 5 agreement."

Prime Minister Rama participated himself in the Political Council meeting convened three days ago,and another meeting is expected to take place later today.

However, Rama warned that they will not wait too long for the constitutional amendments to take shape. "If they want to stay out, I assure you we will not try to bring them in. It is no longer time to deal with this educational process, that the SP has been asked to do continuously, and it has given encouraging results The agreement between the parliamentary forces will be voted on July 30, that is undisputed," Rama said, adding that even possible international interventions will not make him change his mind in this case.

The opposition

The opposition has kept its stance towards the approval of the June 5 agreement, claiming that "unilateral constitutional changes that undermine it, as well as the continuation of political dialogue between the parties, is the only way to maintain the consensus reached, which has been maintained. note from the partners and increases the chances for the start of Albania's membership talks with the European Union."

"The United Opposition is ready to continue the dialogue in good faith and seriously, on any other issue, without compromising the results of the June 5 Agreement. The renunciation of unilateral acts that undermine the consensus reached after 6 months of efforts, and the commitment of all political parties to reach a consensus on every issue related to the elections, serves Albania and its European future", the statement concludes.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 24, 2020 10:27