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The long-term observer mission from the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights will monitor the election campaign ahead of parliamentary polls next month.
“The mission will assess the elections for compliance with OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections, as well as national legislation,” the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, ODIHR said in a statement.
“Observers will follow campaign activities, the work of the election administration and relevant state bodies, the introduction of new election technologies, implementation of the legislative framework, and the resolution of election disputes,” it added.
Albania has a long history of contested polls that do not meet international standards. The last general elections in 2009 sparked a political crisis between the ruling Democrats and opposition Socialists which is still reverberating.
The June 23 parliamentary elections are seen as litmus test for Tirana’s political elite to advance the country’s battered EU integration goals.
The ODIHR mission is headed by the Conny B. McCormack from the US and has a core team of 15 international staff drawn from 14 OSCE participating states based in the head office in Tirana.
Thirty long-term observers are expected to arrive in the country by May 19 and will be deployed in teams of two throughout the regions.
Apart from the long-term observers, 400 short-term observers are expected to be deployed immediately prior to the elections to monitor polling day.
The short-term observers will be deployed throughout the country in multinational teams of two to monitor the opening of polling stations, voting, the counting of ballots, and the tabulation of results.
The day after the elections, OSCE/ODIHR will issue a statement of preliminary findings and conclusions. A final report on the observation of the entire electoral process will be issued approximately eight weeks after the end of the observation mission.
In the Vellusha area of Prishtina, men in beards and women in full veil are a common sight, as hard-line Muslims stake a claim to part of the Kosovo capital.