Friday, 7. August 2020

Albanian Parliament changes Constitution, adopts reform of electoral system

Edi Rama; Photo: Prime Minister's Office

TIRANA – The Albanian Parliament has voted yesterday to change the Constitution in order to allow open lists on next elections and a new formula for the coalitions, Albanian Daily News reported.

Amending of the Constitution aroused significant public debate. The opposition members who abandoned their parliamentary mandate last year opposed the decision, while the ruling Socialist Party and the opposition MPs that remained in the Parliament supported the reform.

According to Exit news, the approved amendments state that the list of candidates for MPs should be open, i.e. that the parties determine who is on the list but the voters decide which MPs take seats in Assembly.

According to this principle, voters will vote for the party and the three candidates they want to win seats.

At the end of voting, the candidates for each party are ranked according to the number of the votes they have received.

The system is yet to be specified by the adoption of a changed Electoral Code.

With the approved changes, Albania will be split into new administrative divisions and regions.Currently, Albania is divided into 61 municipalities and 12 regions. Changing this would require amending the law on territorial division and the Electoral Code.

The parliamentary election is scheduled for next spring.

Last week, the Parliament adopted the electoral reform which was agreed upon by the ruling and opposition parties, but which did not include changes to the electoral system.

Electoral reform in line with OSCE / ODIHR recommendations has been one of the conditions for Albania to hold its first intergovernmental conference with the EU.

Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha condemns the changes

Democratic Party (DP) leader Lulzim Basha reacted on Thursday after the constitutional changes were approved in Parliament, noting that Prime Minister Edi Rama has violated the constitution and the history of the country, Albanian Daily News reported.

“The interest of the citizens was violated. Today, the half-parliament violated the laws and constitution. Our common history. They violated the consensus”, Basha said adding that never before has the Constitution been changed unilaterally and without the consensus of the opposition.

Extra-parliamentary opposition has criticized the reform due to the way it would impact the forming of the pre-election coalitions, which it claims would benefit the Socialist Party.

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