The Central Election Commission has cancelled a contract with Spanish company INDRA, which had been tasked to carry out the electronic counting of ballots in Fier County, which has the second highest number of voters in Albania. The electronic counting was part of pilot project that fell victim to technical problems during preliminary tests.
Speaking on Monday, CEC’s head Lefterije Lleshi said the commission had decided on the manual counting of the votes in the region of Fier where 16 MPs will be elected in of the June 23 general elections.
The failure of the e-counting was a result of 66 parties and one independent candidate registered to run in the Fier region. The high number made the optical reading of the ballets impossible. The maximum number of subjects the system could read was 42.
The unilateral cancellation of the contract with Spain’s INDRA is reported to have cost CEC around 1 million euros in damages, which is 70 percent of the original 1.4 million euro contract.
Meanwhile, CEC is yet to make a final decision on the electronic voter verification system it intends to pilot in the region of Tirana, which has also encountered problems during previous tests.
Since April 2013, CEC has been in a deadlock after the withdrawal of three opposition-proposed members in protest of the replacement of an opposition nominated member, but it is still able to make certain decisions with the four remaining majority-proposed members.