News 05 Apr 13

Robust Mission for Albania Polls Sought

The OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, ODIHR, has asked member states to send 400 short-term observers for Albania’s June 23 elections.  

Besar Likmeta
BIRN
Tirana

The ODIHR has asked for contributions to the mission after describing the pre-electoral climate in Tirana as “tense largely due to longstanding conflicts between the two [main] parties", and after expressing concern that this may negatively impact on the conduct of the elections.

“While numerous OSCE/ODIHR recommendations have been addressed that strengthen the electoral framework, there remains a lack of confidence in the political parties to exercise the necessary political will to conduct democratic elections,” it said in a report published on Thursday.

Albania’s has long history of contested polls that do not meet international standards. The last parliamentary elections in 2009 sparked a political crisis between the ruling centre-right Democrats and opposition Socialists, which reverberates to this day.   

The general elections on June 23 are seen by the EU as the latest test for Tirana’s political elite to advance the country’s battered integration process.  

The 140 members of the Albanian parliament are elected for a four-year term. They are elected through a regional proportional system consisting of closed candidate lists in 12 multi-member districts, which correspond to existing administrative regions. The number of seats per district range from four to 32, based on the number of citizens in each district.

Although voting in most of the country will be carried out through paper ballots, two new election technologies will be introduced on a pilot basis for these elections: an electronic counting system that uses ballot-scanners in Fier District and an electronic voter verification system in Tirana District.

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