The European Union says the June 23 general elections will be a test for the smooth functioning of the country’s democratic institutions and progress on the EU integration path.
EU ambassador to Tirana Ettore Sequi appealed for particular focus on conducting elections in line with European standards.
“As stated in the December 2012 EU General Affairs Council Conclusions, the successful conduct of Parliamentary elections will be a crucial test for the smooth functioning of the country’s democratic institutions. The Council also called for a particular focus on conducting elections in line with European and international standards,” Sequi said.
Sequi made the comments in a recent meeting with Conny McCormack, the American head of international OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission.
The EU Delegation to Albania says it is providing Euro 205,000 to support the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission for the provision of 6 long-term and 32 short-term election observers.
In a visit to Albania last April, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton warned after meeting the country’s top political leaders that “the progress on the path toward the European Union is in your hands.”
“We want to see the country progress at a good pace. But the progress on the path towards the European Union is in your hands. A genuine and a constructive dialogue among all the political parties and the will to find compromises are key to progress,” Ashton said.
Her visit to Albania came just after a member of the Central Election Commission (CEC) was replaced with a member proposed by the ruling majority, leading to the resignation of three CEC members proposed by the opposition. Since mid-April 2013, CEC, a seven-member body overseeing and certifying Albanian elections, has been operating with only four members proposed by the majority. The deadlock in CEC came after a member proposed by the Socialist Movement for Integration (SMI) was controversially replaced by the majority after the SMI, represented in Parliament with four MPs, left the ruling Democratic Party-led coalition to join the opposition Socialists in a pre-electoral coalition.
A NATO member since 2009, EU potential candidate Albania has been striving to conduct free and fair elections during the past 20 years of the country’s transition to democracy.