Decisions on voting places, media and ballots face challenges

CEC's remaining four members are all government nominees.

CEC’s remaining four members are all government nominees.

Albania’s Electoral College, a group of judges with final say on election procedures, has cancelled a decision of the Central Election Commission, which would have allowed for voting to take place in private homes. The decision came after an appeal to the college by the opposition. 

In another controversial decision yesterday,  an official regulator associated with CEC, the Media Monitoring Board, mandated that all media outlets should accept and broadcast tapes prepared by the political parties themselves. The decision essentially forces the media “to show party propaganda” with no editorial input, media critics say, and there was an outcry over the decision by professional journalists. Media outlets face fines if they do not comply with the decision.

One of the latest CEC meetings also revealed that fewer ballots than voters were being printed, causing concern.

CEC is still made up of only four members, all nominated by the governing Democratic Party-led coalition. The opposition does not appear to want to fill the vacant places, which have been empty since resignations over what the opposition calls political interference at the CEC by the government. The situation continues despite fears that such a situation may also cause problems at the end of the voting, when at least five of the seven-member election governing body should certificate the results.

Clarification: In an earlier version of this story, it was not clear enough that it was the Media Monitoring Board that made the decision forcing the media to use party-produced video. 

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Posted in Elections 2013, Featured
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