Albania resumes work on electoral reform and the vetting process

Albanian National Assembly, Tirana; Photo: WikiCommons / Pudelek

TIRANA – Last week, Albania resumed its work on electoral reform and vetting process of judges and prosecutors, which are both conditions for it to hold its first intergovernmental conference with the EU.

Committee on Electoral Reform, co-chaired by MPs Rudina Hajdari and Damian Gjiknuri, met with the opposition representatives yesterday, for the first time since 9 March, when the work was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Exit portal, the ruling Socialist Party refused to include opposition’s proposal for a transition government in the agenda of the electoral reform, while Hajdari accused both the government and the opposition of being unwilling to change the electoral reform despite their public statements.

The original deadline for the adoption of the reform was 15 March, and now seems to be June (elections are not due until 2021).

Read also: Albania’s homework: What are the conditions for the next step towards the EU?

Meanwhile, the vetting process of judges, which has been highlighted as one of the most crucial reforms in Albania in the past five years, also resumed as the social distancing and other safety measures were adopted.

“Important work continues in Albania in spite of COVID-19 crisis: Cooperation between the vetting institutions & SPAK works effectively – today indictments on magistrates accused of criminal conduct during the vetting were lodged. We trust that due judicial follow up is ensured”, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi tweeted on 8 May.