European Western Balkans

Parties in Albania draw different conclusions from OSCE’s report on local elections

Tirana; Photo: European Commission

TIRANA – Following the publishing of OSCE’s report on local elections on held on 30 June, ruling and opposition parties have come out with different interpretations. While the government sees the document as a legitimization of the elections, opposition Democratic Party points out that, for the first time, the process is not specified as democratic.

According to Radio Tirana International, while OSCE assessed that the voting was conducted in a generally peaceful and orderly manner, the elections were held with little regard for the interests of the electorate and, in a climate of a political standoff and polarization, voters did not have a meaningful choice between political options.

Two days after the publication of the OSCE/ODHIR report on the elections on 30 June, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Gent Cakaj gave a press conference, highlighting the legitimization of the June local elections, being indicative of dialogue on electoral reform for the elections of 2021.

“The report evidenced the electoral process was orderly, democratic and internationally recognized”, Cakaj stated.

“There are attempts to undermine opening of negotiations in October”

Asked if this report is a weapon in the hands of skeptical countries to kill Albania’s integration in October, the acting
minister replied that it is clear there has been an active attempt here to undermine the possibility of opening Albania’s
negotiations, ADN reports.

“There has been active engagement of some opposition circles to produce mass disinformation, as well as sabotage of the electoral process”, the Acting Foreign Minister emphasised.

Prime Minister Edi Rama has also reacted, declaring that attempts to brew a storm on it are futile.

“Attemps to brew a storm on the OSCE/ODHIR report is futile, wrong and harmful to the country, and mainly to the non-parliamentary opposition! The report has certified the elections as legitimate and has made recommendations in the service of the reform we need!” Rama tweeted.

The Prime Minister also wrote that there is limited time to address the recommendations of the Electoral Reform until the 2021 election, and in this context calls for dialogue and cooperation, emphasising that the government remains open to all.

Opposition: The report states that the government breached the law

On the other hand, Democratic Party, which boycotted the elections, assessed the report as damning for the government.

“For the first time in the history of OSCE / ODIHR election observation, it is not specified that the elections were democratic. It is for the first time specified that the actions and conduct of the government, other institutions, including the court and the prosecution, were completely contrary to the law. The opposition cannot be held responsible for this”, said the Secretary General of the DP Gazment Bardhi.

Leader of the DP Lulzim Basha agreed with this interpretations, adding that there is enough evidence to launch investigation into several people and institutions.

“Practically, this is a document that more than an election report
it looks like a report of a criminal event. This is a report that really contains evidence and facts to initiate criminal investigations against a number of persons and institutions,” said Basha, ADN reports.

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