The Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) appreciates the special importance that the conduct of the parliamentary elections of June 18, 2017 has, particularly after the approval of considerable amendments in the framework of justice reform, whose implementation has just begun. The main goal is for these elections to be free, fair and democratic and thus achieve the required standards.
However, AHC expresses its concern that the different partisan controversies and stances between the majority and the opposition are delaying the drafting of draft amendments that are necessary ased on OSCE/ODIHR recommendations.
This is the reason why AHC suggests that, leaving aside narrow party interests, the observed problems are resolved through constructive dialogue.
AHC notes that the consequences of the delay may be accompanied first with the fact that the draft amendments to the Electoral Code may not be subjected to inclusive discussions and consultations. Second, this delay may be an obstacle to the CEC for carrying out its legal functions. Third, this delay may lead to the narrowing of legal deadlines for the registration of electoral subjects, the establishment and training of ZEACs, the presentation of the lists of candidates’ names, etc. As a result, the delay may affect the conduct of important aspects of the pre-election process and, as a result, would lead to the violation of required standards for free and fair elections.
Also, the delayed approval of amendments may lead to incomplete sensitization of voters who need to become aware on time and in the proper manner of changes that the Electoral Code will undergo.
Although, as known, political parties (electoral subjects) are important factors for the preparation of the broad public opinion, they may not have the monopoly for drafting electoral reform. The right to vote is a voluntary and civic act of everyone, sanctioned in the Constitution and Protocol 1 of the European Convention of Human Rights.