An investigation is to take place on the ballots cast in Albania’s northeastern county of Kukes over election irregularities last month that the junior partner in the winning coalition says cost it a seat in parliament.
The Electoral College, Albania’s judicial body with final say on elections matters, overruled the Central Elections Commission’s decision on the matter, following an appeal by the Socialist Movement for Integration.
The college’s panel of judges made the ruling Tuesday after accepting as proof video footage that showed suspected discrepancies between the result accepted by the CEC and what was seen on video. The mandate distribution was decided on a thin margin of 15 votes, demanding an investigation, the judges ruled.
The SMI says it lost its MP seat in the northern region of Kukes by only a few votes, and demanded the recount of 15 ballot boxes from the district of Tropoja, claiming manipulation based on video footage from the local zone commission where ballots were counted. They say they would get 150 votes more in a recount, based on the footage.
Two court-appointed experts will now look over the footage and report back to the court before a final decision is made.
The decision is important because it could shift one MP from the Democratic Party-led coalition to the winners of the election, the Socialist Party-led coalition, bringing its total seats in parliament to 84, and giving it a three-fifths majority required for many important reforms.
Kukes County has the smallest representation in Albania’s 140-member parliament, four seats, and is considered a stronghold of the Democratic Party, which lost the June 23 national election in a landslide.