18 Apr 13
Albania Election Commission Row Alarms US
The Unites States expressed concern on Monday that a power struggle among Albanian parties to control the Central Electoral Commission, CEC, will hamper the June 23 elections.
|Waiting for the voting centre to open – Albanian parliamentary elections, Vlora, 3 July 2005 | Photo by : OSCE/Karin Fallman
“We are concerned about the political tensions that we have noticed, as we head toward this election process,” Jonathan Moore, Director for Southern and Central European Affairs in the US State Department said in Tirana.
Moore visited Tirana on the heels of a controversial vote in parliament on Monday, which sacked a member of the Central Electoral Commission, CEC, who had been proposed by the Socialist Movement for Integration, LSI.
A former junior government partner, the LSI left the government two weeks ago to join the Socialist-led opposition ahead of the June 23 parliamentary elections.
The opposition condemned the vote, arguing that there was no legal basis to dismiss the commissioner and that his sacking put the independence of the CEC at risk.
The CEC is a seven-member collegial body tasked with overseeing elections in Albania. Although, its members are proposed by political parties, with a formula that grants the
ruling coalition the right to propose four of the seven members, the CEC is considered an independent institution.
Two other member of the CEC, who had been proposed by the opposition Socialists, resigned in protest on Monday and Tuesday after parliament sacked their colleague, describing the move as unconstitutional.
A third member, from the Union for Human Rights, the Greek minority party, suspended work in protest on Thursday, bringing the commission to a standstill.
According to the electoral code, over the next two days the Socialist-led opposition needs to nominate two new candidates for the CEC, then to be approved in parliament. However, the Socialists have declared that they will withhold the nominations.
Moore said that parliament’s decision to sack the CEC commissioner was highly questionable from a legal basis; however, parties had to find a way to move the process forward, he added.
“We want the CEC to function, because if this does not happen, there will be no elections on June 23,” he concluded.
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