Based on the decree of the President of the Republic, local by-elections will be held for Mayors of Municipalities in Shkodra, Dibra, Durrës, Vora, Rrogozhina, and Lushnje on March 6, 2022.
The Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) appreciates the initiative of the Central Election Commission (CEC) to move fast with measures especially in terms of setting deadlines that need to be respected pursuant to relevant provisions of the Electoral Code. In our opinion, the procedures approved by the CEC are fully achievable if the will of the parties participating in these elections exists.
Considering our experience of monitoring previous elections, AHC deems it necessary to not only suggest, but also to call on political parties (electoral subjects) whether in coalitions or not, as well as the group of voters who have the right to propose an independent candidate for mayor, to keep in mind the moral and political integrity of the candidate in public. To that end, it is necessary to implement with necessary care legislation in force on verifying their integrity and their past. Heads of political parties (electoral subjects) as well as initiating communities tasked with the collection of signatures for the independent candidate, in submitting relevant documentation, should have in mind article 67 of the Electoral Code, which speaks to the list of candidates of parties and party coalitions, as well as article 70 of the Electoral Code regarding candidates proposed by voters.
AHC suggests that consulting with the electorate on the qualities and credibility of the candidates for mayors should be considered an important element. In this regard, it is our opinion that any formal action that could reflect negatively after their election should be avoided. The process for selecting candidates should be accompanied by the standards and positive models of internal political party democratization and not be the product of actions that are unilateral or clientelistic.
AHC deems it necessary to emphasize that although the March 6 elections are by-elections and are delayed, it is required that they be fair and with integrity, in respect of required standards. AHC also deems it necessary to suggest to the CEC to intervene at the right time in order to prevent any violation of provisions of the Electoral Code and its instructions.