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Action description


In accordance with its mission, the Coalition of Domestic Observers is observing the preparations and implementation of all aspects of the 25 June 2017 Albanian Assembly Elections.


For Election Day and the counting process, CDO is deploying approximately 1,600 observers that will assess:


-the voting process at 541 randomly selected polling stations across the country;

-the general environment around polling stations, through 180 mobile observers;

-the work of the Zonal Electoral Administration Commissions, through 180 observers;

-the counting process until its conclusion.


The 541 polling stations to be observed during the election day have been selected using a random, stratified, and representative sampling methodology. This sampling methodology enables CDO to generalize Election Day observation findings to provide a nationwide assessment of the process.


2017 Elections – Data



ANOUNCEMENT

INTERNATIONAL   CONFERENCE

2-3 February 2017, Hotel Tirana International, Tirana

 

Despite remarkable improvements, Albanian democracy still lacks proper involvement and participation of citizens in the decision making process and efficient mechanisms to hold elected representatives and state officials accountable. Citizens are enabled to express their will through electoral processes, once every few years, processes in which the possibility for effective selection of candidates or candidacies is being narrowed.

 

To have a discussion on these matters and initiate a public debate on the need to address the regulation of the right of Albanian citizens to participate fully in the decision-making process of the country, KRIIK Albania, in collaboration with the Coalition of Domestic Observers (CDO) are organizing the International Conference “We the People; Citizens’ Participation and Direct Democracy”. The Conference will be realized on 2-3 February 2017, at Hotel Tirana International. An opportunity to exchange opinions on ways to empower Albanian citizens, as an alignment of all actors, both political and civic.

 

The moment of the organization of this Conference is a good opportunity to address this major matter by the political parties already during the electoral campaign for the 18 June 2017 Parliamentary Elections and follow up by the decision-makers coming out of these elections, especially the governing majority, in the concretization of direct forms of direct democracy, as well as other legal mechanisms that aim to empower the citizens’ will.

 

The International Conference “We the People; Citizens’ Participation and Direct Democracy” is made possible through the financial support and special contribution of the Embassy of Switzerland in Albania, and the financial support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Albania and the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Albania.


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The immediate start of the work by the Ad-Hoc Parliamentary Committee, indispensable for avoiding the failure of the process for the Electoral Reform !
24/10/2016

 O P E N     L E T T E R *

 

Download the Full Open Letter in .pdf

 

To:                Co-Chairperson of the Ad-Hoc Parliamentary Committee for the Electoral Reform

Mr. Taulant BALLA

                      Co-Chairperson of the Ad-Hoc Parliamentary Committee for the Electoral Reform

            Mr. Oerd BYLYKBASHI

Other members of the Ad-Hoc Parliamentary Committee for the Electoral Reform

 

For information to:       The President of the Republic of Albania,

H.E. Mr. Bujar NISHANI

The Heads of the Parliamentary Political Parties

The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Groups in the Assembly of Albania

The Diplomatic Representative and International Bodies accredited in Albania

The Public Opinion

 

Honorable Sirs!

 

The Coalition of Domestic Observers (CDO), as a group of organizations that operate in the field of democracy and human rights, is following with attention the preparations for the upcoming electoral process and, especially, the progress of the electoral reform.

 

Expressing the concern for the inadequate delay in starting the work of the Ad-Hoc parliamentary Committee for the Electoral Reform, of which you are part, we would like to bring to your attention that:

 

Since the conclusion of the electoral process for the elections of 21 June 2015, the Electoral Reform was the main commitment of the main political leadership.

Being less than eight months from the date of elections, your Committee is in total impossibility to undertake a legislative process that might have the depth of a so called “reform”, due to time shortage.   The available time cannot even fulfill the provisions of the Law “For public notification and consulting”, that would apply in the case of a normal normative act.

The time impossibility turns into an impasse if it is to be contextualized in the political tradition of our country, of the voluntary political impasses,   in the decision-making of the Venice Commission that prevent reforms under electoral regime,   as well as if we take into account the resources of the country, in which the last example was the process for the municipality of Dibër.

 

In unison and in continuity of the political discourse, since the establishment of the Committee, it has been accepted that the objectives of the Reform are the recommendations of the final reports of OSCE/ODIHR for the electoral processes of 2013 and 2015.  This situation is similar to the Electoral Reform of the year 2012, in which the commitment was to fulfill the recommendations of the final reports of OSCE-ODIHR for the electoral processes of the years 2009 and 2011.

It should be emphasized that in the historical approach, in reality, the commitment to adopt the recommendations of the missions of OSCE/ODIHR on behalf of our country has been taken since the Summit of Istanbul of the year 1999.

After almost two decades and 9 general electoral processes, the political commitment continues to repeat itself.

As the recommendations of the missions of OSCE/ODIHR continue to be the same from one electoral process to the next, still not being fulfilled, as the reports itself state.

 

   To date, the Committee you are a part of, has only realized three plenary sessions, in which, among others, has been affirmed that the volume of work and discussion of technicalities will be undertaken by the Group of Experts.

The lack of an adopted working calendar, rules of procedure and of the transparency on the work of the Group of Experts, eventually might raise two major concerns.

     First, that throughout almost a year the Committee has not worked in parallel with the work and materials of the Group of Experts as it was proclaimed in the first stance of the process. Moreover, although at the conclusion of the two last meetings it has been notified the meeting for the following week, the Committee has not held a meeting in the following week.

     Second, the presentation in the limits of the last deadline and formalization of adoption of amendments by the Committee based on documents and drafts already prepared by the Group of Experts, under the argument of the lack of time and finding a bi-partisan political agreement.

 

This situation seems to be leading even this process for the Electoral Reform in the same direction as previous ones. This is going in the same repetitive tradition of the observed problematic and recommendations made after each electoral process, repeated commitments of the leadership for free and fair elections and the non-institutional behavior of the Parliamentary Committees themselves.

 

The time impossibility toward extremes, created artificially, is showing in perspective an agreement of the last minute and, at the same time, closed in the narrow political agreement. This situation jeopardizes since its first steps the upcoming electoral process. While, on the other hand, reserves the loser the right to delegitimize the electoral process and the winner the fault for deforming and applying elements of electoral corruption.

 

 

In these conditions, the Coalition of Domestic Observers, reminding you the commitments of the highest political leaders,  calls upon you that under these out of the ordinary circumstances it is needed to organize the work, transparency and will of the Committee, by using in their physical limits the remaining seven weeks.

 

It is urgent to compile, before all, the work calendar and state the map of the immediate matters to be considered, as well as the ones that will not be considered.  In addition, it should start the process of consultation with all interested actors that have been self-identified already and have provided their comments and suggestions.

 

Aiming this, the Coalition of Domestic Observers, under the present time constrains, brings in front of you and is listing below the elements that, in its judgment, the Ad-Hoc Parliamentary Committee can minimally address with concrete amendments, which should change in depth the matter of finances of political parties and electoral justice, but also some moments of the electoral administration.

 

 

I. Political parties finance:

 

  1. It is necessary an exclusive period for the electoral donations to electoral subjects before the campaign, also the delivery and the publication of self-declaration reports before the start of the electoral campaign.
  2. The obligation for the delivering and publication of the self-declaration financial reports from the electoral subjects every week during the electoral campaign and a final report before the Election Day.
  3. The creation of a special structure (directory), with an internal regulation, in the Central Electoral Commission to control and publish the financial report (self-declaring and audit) of the electoral subjects.
  4. The guarantee for the right of the electoral subjects to evident irregularities in the financial reports of other electoral subjects.
  5. The defining of the procedures of admitting, refusing, investigating the appeals and the addressing to the responsible institutions.
  6. It is necessary to be set a limit to the member fees of the political parties, their registration and publication not nominally into the financial reports.
  7. It is necessary a work protocol for the auditing of financial reports of the political parties.
  8. For the parliamentary elections, the reports and audit of financial activity for the electoral campaign must not be on total for the electoral subject, but must be specified by the activities of the candidates in the race.
  9. It is necessary to ban those parties becoming electoral subjects that do not delivery a special bank account for the electoral campaign and the financial report referring the exclusive period allowed to donations for the electoral subjects.
  10. It is suggested the creation and use of transparent bank accounts by the political parties.
  11. The enlargement of the conflict interest for the electoral subject’s donors in a 5 years period before and after the donation, as well as in their close relatives.
  12. The regulation of volunteer right and its limitations, in the organization of the electoral campaign and their reflection into financial and audit reports.
  13. The regulation of the right of in kind donations, in the organization of the electoral campaign and its reflection into financial and audit reports.
  14. It is necessary the addressing and regulation of financial activities within political parties internal structures, as those for the youth or women, as part of financial and audit reports.
  15. It is necessary the definition of allocation time for the public funding in a reasonable period before the start of the electoral campaign.

 

 

II. Electoral justice:

 

  1. The Electoral Code must reevaluate and specify the procedures for scrutiny of electoral materials’ and ballot boxes.
  2. The new legal provisions must filter the claims proportionally, by not harming the progress of the process on one hand, while avoiding denying the right of electoral subjects for scrutiny.
  3. The burden and nature of proof in the administrative and judicial complaints and appeals process should be specified.
  4. It is necessary to be predicted the eventual procedure, in cases when CEAZs do not accept or deny the fact of receiving complaints from electoral subjects.
  5. The difference between indicia and evidence should be avoided as much as possible from the discretion of the collegial judiciary process.
  6. A balance in the decision-making of Electoral College, in report to the jurisprudence it sets should be established.
  7. It is mandatory to take a final stance toward the legal tradition followed by the Electoral College so far, because of the manifested incoherence
  8. Remodeling and clarifying the status of the Electoral College in the judicial adjudication, in relation to the Central Election Commission and the Constitutional Court, is indispensable.
  9. The Electoral Code must specify the burden of proof for the electoral subjects in the administrative and judicial complaints process.
  10. A proportional and reasonable “lighten” of the burden of proof in the claims of the electoral subjects to take into administration the ballot papers and electoral materials, in the administrative adjudication of the Central Election Commission, is needed.
  11. The role of partisan observers in the voting and counting process should be specified, as well as their rights. This should also be extended to the independent non-partisan observers.
  12. The right of the partisan observers to present remarks in the protocols must be sanctioned and specified. The same must apply to non-partisan independent observers.
  13. It is suggested to be taken into consideration, a proportional and reasonable facilitation for the approval of the requests by the electoral subjects for the ballot recounting process.
  14. Jurisprudence and juridical security throughout the decision-making of the Electoral College should be provided in a more complete form than it is actually stated in the Electoral Code.

 

 

III. Electoral administration:

 

  1. It is necessary the control of the originality of the identification cards of the voters.
  2. It is necessary the defining of the obligations and right of the Central Electoral Commission for the decriminalization process of the candidates in the races.
  3. The whole process of assignment of polling centers’ venues, in public or private premises, ballot counting centers and commissions of election administration zones offices must be revised in order to address the issues observed so far, such as: violation of deadlines or failure to fulfill the conditions provided in the Electoral Code.
  4. The written notification of voters process must be revised in its entirety, to address the problematic observed so far, in order to fulfill it.
  5. It is necessary that the Electoral Code dedicate more attention to the regulation of the work of other electoral operators, such as the Ministry of Interior (General Directory of Civil Status and its regional offices), Audiovisual Media Authority, General Prosecution Office, Institute of Authorized Chartered Auditors, or other actors that have duties or help in the realization of the electoral process.
  6. It is necessary to sanction in the Electoral Code itself the prohibition to make legal amendments of the legal framework in the period of electoral regime, one year prior to the date of elections.
  7. The time element in the required procedures must be accurate and avoid leaving discretionary gaps in their enforcement.
  8. In function of norming the deadlines required by the electoral legal framework, it is suggested to establish sanctions for failure to fulfill them.
  9. It is necessary to take measures that the commissioners of second and third level commissions receive trainings, which are as complete and thorough as possible on the work and procedures of these commissions.
  10. In the training of the polling centers commissioners, a special section should be dedicated to the behavior and alternative forms that should be used to categorically prevent the family voting.
  11. Categorical respect for personal voting and secrecy of the vote for women, youngsters and elderly, especially in rural areas, should also be treated with priority during the trainings of commissioners. The same attention should be dedicated to the voting of people who cannot vote themselves.
  12. The legal status of observers, partisan and not, must be more accurate with regard to rights and obligations that observers carry.

 

Thanking you for the attention in taking into consideration of this Open Letter, we want to stressed that these main amendments listed above are seen as integral with each other and do not stand as specific or optional alternatives.

  

With consideration,

 For the Coalition of Domestic Observers

 Representatives of the leading organizations

 

         GertaMETA                                 Premto GOGO                        Rajmonda PRIFTI

       Executive Director                             Chairperson                          Executive Director

Society for Democratic Culture          KRIIK Albania Assoc.         For Women and Children Assoc.

 

 

Tirana, on 24 October 2016!

 

_____________________________________________________ 

* This Open Letter is published in Albanian and in English.

The Albanian version is the only official document.

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Progress of the by-elections in the Municipality of Kolonja and the impingement of expectations for local governance !
16/11/2016

The fake assumption of independence of the Institution of Central Election Commission, as a failure of the aspiration of the 2012 Electoral Reform !
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Activists of Albanian Coalition of Domestic Observers observe the Presidential Elections in Moldova of October 30th, in the frame of International Elections Observation Mission of ENEMO !
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