News 12 Mar 13

OSCE Snubs Albanian Proposal to Lower Voting Age

The OSCE head in Albania, Eugen Wolfarth, on Tuesday criticised a proposal by Prime Minister Sali Berisha to rush through an extension of voting rights to 16-year-olds ahead of the June 23 elections.

Besar Likmeta

“Ahead of this election there is no time [for such a change],” Wolfarth said. “Such thing cannot be changed ahead of the elections, but remains an option for the future,” he added.

The OSCE chief was speaking after Prime Minister Berisha on Monday told his Democratic Party MPs that he proposed to lower the voting age from 18 to 16.

Berisha said that he had received hundreds of requests on social networks from young people who wanted to vote - and the change would be easy to oversee.

“This is a different generation, the internet generation… that cannot be compared with any other in the history of our nation,” Berisha said. “If there is political will we can generate voting lists to include all 16-year-olds in a matter of hours,” he added.

Berisha’s proposal comes after several watchdogs have complained that Albania’s institutions have failed to notify voters of their presence on preliminary electoral rolls ahead of the June parliamentary elections.

The notification of voters is a legal obligation for the government and is prescribed in the electoral code.

Albania’s has long history of contested polls that do not meet international standards. The last general elections in 2009 sparked a political crisis that reverberates to this day.   

The elections on June 23 are seen by the EU as litmus test for Tirana’s political elite and for its hopes of advancing the country’s battered integration process.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Headlines:

22 Oct 16

Macedonia Prosecutors and Police Tussle Over Wiretap Evidence

Tension between Macedonia's ruling structures and the Special Prosecution, SJO, has heightened after one SJO investigator was arrested - and later released - and while another was thrown out of the headquarters of the secret police, UBK.

21 Oct 16

Crimea Officials Tout for Business in Serbia

Premium Selection

21 Oct 16

Nikola Ivanovski: New Head of Macedonia’s Discredited Court

The newly elected chief judge of Macedonia’s Constitutional Court is unlikely to restore the image of an institution now widely seen as a tool of the political establishment.

21 Oct 16

Bosnian Serb Opposition Party Chooses New Leader

After its recent local election debacle, the main opposition party in Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska is trying to consolidate, but the process is burdened by internal power struggles and divisions.

20 Oct 16

Bosnian War Rape Victims Rue Lost Motherhood

20 Oct 16

Critical Voices Defy Fear in New Serbia