ODIHR says Albanias local vote was transparent but highly polarized.

By bne IntelliNews August 16, 2011
The OSCEs Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) said Albanias local elections held on May 8 were competitive and transparent but highly polarized, with mistrust between political parties in government and opposition, the office said in its final report. The ruling Democratic Party (DP) and largest opposition Socialist Party (SP) have failed to discharge their electoral duties in a responsible manner, negatively affecting the administration of the elections. International observers have found significant problems in 10% of the voting centres and several ballot counting stations. Referring to the highly disputed post-election decisions taken by the Central Election Commission (CEC) regarding the Tirana mayoral race, ODIHR noted that such an action undermined confidence that CEC was acting as an impartial and independent body. According to the report, further progress in election reform is conditioned by the will of all parliamentary parties, while government authorities, election administrators and civil society must be active as well. OSCE/ODIHR offered 27 recommendations for further improvement, expressing readiness to fully support Albanias electoral reform. As an immediate priority, parties should demonstrate the political will for the conduct of democratic elections. Electoral reform should be undertaken well in advance of the next parliamentary election with CEC and domestic observer groups involved in discussion. The formula for the composition of CEC must be reconsidered in order to increase confidence in its independence. ODIHR also recommended amendments to the Electoral Code in order to address the validity of ballots cast in the wrong ballot boxes as well as issues related to contested ballots.

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