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Albanian parties reached an agreement on Wednesday as the mandate of the parliamentary commission tasked with improving the electoral code was due to expire.
The agreement covers a series of divisive issues, including the re-election of the members of the Central Electoral Commission, CEC, the use of technology in the electoral process and the right of a minority of the members of the CEC to initiate an audit in cases of alleged fraud.
Albania has suffered a long and tumultuous transition to democracy since it emerged from the Stalinist regime of Enver Hoxha in 1991.
No elections held since the collapse of the regime have met international standards and allegations of fraud and disputed results have been widespread.
Following another disputed election in May 2011, Albania’s political parties struck a deal last November to negotiate reform of the electoral code.
However, negotiations between the ruling majority and the opposition have been slow and marked by accusations regularly exchanged through press conferences and TV appearances
The electoral reform process is one of the key requirements set forth by the European Commission for Albania to obtain candidate status.
Last week the head of the EU Delegation in Tirana, Ettore Sequi, made it clear that time was running out, and, with it, Brussels' patience was wearing thin.
“The finalization of the electoral and parliamentary reform processes are vital for Albania’s EU candidate status bid,” Sequi said.
“Political will is essential for Albania to move forward,” he concluded.
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