OSCE electoral report – recurring issues and ones that developed in 2021

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The OSCE report for the April 25th elections resulted in additional clashes amongst the main actors of the Albanian political scene. DP claimed that OSCE confirmed the ‘electoral massacre’, whereas SP said that this report was the best one yet.

In the document made available by OSCE, there’s a discussion regarding issues that were present since 2017 as well as new issues that developed and are specific to 2021. In addition, OSCE gave a list of recommendations that would prioritize the improvement of the future electoral processes in our country.

The recommendation over the need for an intervention in the electoral law was repeated in the 2021 report, accompanied by the need for changes to the Electoral Code. Another highlight of the first recommendation is the consensus needing to be reached in order to clarify these changes.

Another issue that came up during these elections and that was also identified back in 2017, is related to the anonymity of the vote and voter pressure.

Likewise, vote-buying remained a pronounced issue, over which OSCE requires authorities to find a prompt resolution. The report emphasized that the cases of vote-buying should be investigated and criminally prosecuted. Citizens should also report and provide evidence for each and every case of vote-buying and racketeering.

The protection of personal data, especially related to the publication of SP’s ‘patronage system’ a few days before the elections, was another concern presented by OSCE.

The report asked for legal changes that would grant real autonomy to the media and keep them away from financial pressure during the electoral campaigns. As a result, news would be safe from being controlled or produced by political parties.

In addition, the issues of de-politicization of the electoral administration, the right to vote for people with disabilities and the transparency of electoral materials weren’t mentioned in the 2021 report.

The electoral reforms a few months before the elections have proved to not be completely effective and in September, one of the most urgent duties of the new parliament will be the completion of a legal package for the elections. The new parliament will be faced with the need of an electoral reform and dialogue between the different parties.

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