The Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) particularly appreciates that candidates for MP for the Assembly of Albania enjoy the confidence of the public in the parliamentary elections that will be held on April 25, 2021. In this regard, one of the main requirements is the rigorous implementation of law no. 138/2015 “On guaranteeing the integrity of persons elected or exercising public functions.” Pursuant to fulfilling this goal, AHC hereby presents the following suggestions:
According to article 67 of the Electoral Code, electoral subjects should submit to the CEC the multi-name list of candidates for MP for every electoral constituency no later than 50 days before the day of elections, i.e. no later than March 5, 2021. If during its verifications, the CEC finds discrepancies or deficiencies with regard to requirements envisaged in the Electoral Code, sends back the list for corrections no later than March 21, 2021, while the corrected document should be submitted to the CEC no later than March 13, 2021. After this, the CEC publishes the full list in the media and on its official website (paragraphs1, 2, and 3 of article 73 of the Electoral Code). Upon final approval of the multi-name list, it may no longer be changed (paragraph 4 of the Electoral Code).
AHC considers that, based on the provisions of the above legal deadlines, it is difficult for the CEC and the General Prosecution Office to conduct relevant verifications pursuant to Law no. 138/2015.
The experience of past elections has shown that, in some cases, MPs, mayors or municipal council members in local government bodies have been elected in contravention of the above law. In order to prevent to the maximum possible any such cases, AHC suggests to political parties and electoral coalitions (electoral subjects) to submit the multi-name list of candidates for MPs to the CEC before the legally prescribed deadline. Considering that the Electoral Code uses the phrase “not later than,” AHC’s suggestion does not go against any legal provision.
AHC is also of the opinion that the political parties’ fulfillment of this suggestion would serve transparency and credibility to the public because it would create better and greater conditions and opportunities for more accurate and more complete verification by the CEC and the General Prosecution Office toward guaranteeing the integrity of candidates for MP.
Should this suggestion be viewed as fair, necessary, and effective, it would also create for voters one more opportunity, in the context of transparency, to signal on time any reservations or information they might possess on certain candidates, who according to law no. 138/2015 should not compete. It is understandable that every information would be subjected to comprehensive and objective verifications by competent bodies tasked by law.