Electoral reform: U.S. & EU call for consensus

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 27, 2020 12:09

Electoral reform: U.S. & EU call for consensus

TIRANA, July 27 - As clashes between the Socialist majority and the extra-parliamentary opposition continue, the U.S. and EU Ambassadors have emphasized that any changes to the electoral reform must be agreed by both parties.

U.S. Ambassador to Albania, Yuri Kim and EU Ambassador Luigi Soreca have asked Prime Minister Rama that any constitutional changes, must be approved by the extra-parliamentary opposition and must respect the June 5 agreement. Furthermore, the ambassadors demanded that the reform be approved as soon as possible and that the process of agreement is both inclusive as well as transparent.

On Friday, the Socialist majority and the parliamentary opposition adopted the June 5 Agreement on the electoral reform, which stipulates severl changes to the Electoral Code in Albania.

The agreement of 5 June was reached between Socialist Party and the opposition Democratic Party and Socialist Movement for Integration, in accordance with OSCE/ODHIR recommendations.

However, tables were turned when Prime Minister Rama declared his support towards an open-list system over two weeks ago, urged mainly by the parliamentary opposition.

On the other hand, the extra-parliamentary opposition accused the two of attempting to make "unilateral changes", which contradicts OSCE/ODHIR recommendations and undermines the June 5 Agreement.

Based on the agreement between the SP and the parliamentary opposition, the open-list system stipulates that the voters will be able to choose 2/3 of the deputies in the parties' list, while 1/3 will be decided by the political parties based on gender representation. Through this agreement, clauses 1 and 2 in articles 64 and 68 of the Albanian Constitution will be amended in order to provide open lists, but will make it impossible from now on to enter the elections with pre-electoral coalitions.

The current system favors coalitions by giving more value to the votes of small parties under the umbrella of a large party. However, in the current political system, avoiding coalitions seems to suit the Socialist Party better.

During Monday's plenary session, Prime Minister Rama restated that the voting process on the constitutional amendments will take place on June 30, adding that a full open-list system is possible, as per the request of the DP and the LSI.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 27, 2020 12:09