Opposition Accepts McAllister+, Rama Rejects

A statement sent out by the opposition this morning casts light on the US Deputy Assistant Secretary Hoyt Brian Yee’s attempts to solve the political crisis. According to the opposition’s statement, Yee proposed on Monday afternoon an “integrated proposal” to come to a compromise, referred to as “McAllister+.”

This proposal contained the 15 points from the McAllister plan, excluding the election of the President, who has recently been chosen, but including the 7 points presented by Prime Minister Edi Rama during his meeting with opposition leader Lulzim Basha organized by President Bujar Nishani.

Yee gave the two sides 24 hours to accept the integrated proposal without changes or discussions.

Yesterday morning, Basha had accepted the proposal in the name of the opposition, requesting that also the possibility of biometric identification of the voters during the voting process.

US Ambassador Donald Lu immediately rejected this proposal, declaring that the proposal could only be accepted or rejected as a package. Basha subsequently accepted the package even if biometric identification would turn out not to be possible. He also reconfirmed that the opposition was prepared to vote for the vetting commissions immediately after signing the agreement.

The opposition states that after Yee 24-hour deadline had passed, Prime Minister Rama presented a counter-proposal. This was refused by the opposition, which requested Prime Minister Rama to accept the McAllister+ proposal.

The McAllister+ Proposal

  • Postponing the elections until July 16;
  • 4 technical ministers in the government, proposed by the Prime Minister and approved by the PD;
  • Opposition proposes a new chair of the Central Election Commission (KQZ);
  • Opposition proposes a new National Ombudsman;
  • Opposition votes on the parliamentary ad-hoc committees to select the vetting commission candidates immediately after signing the agreement;
  • Vote buying, photographing ballots become a criminal offence included in the Penal Code;
  • Police chiefs (suspected to be) linked with drug trafficking or corruption are to be fired;
  • The OSCE will install a round table of NGOs to monitor the elections;
  • Changes in the Electoral Code to guarantee the necessary standards for free and fair elections;
  • The creation of a new special ministry, directed by a politician selected by the opposition, that will implement electronic voting;
  • Changes to law on financial transparency of political parties;
  • Additional resources for the KQZ to monitor the finances of political parties, including international auditors for the financing of electoral campaigns and possible changes in the pertinent legislation;
  • Implementation of the decriminalization law;
  • Additional personnel for the KQZ to check the candidates, with international support;
  • The engagement of the US and other partners to provide political party leaders recommendations based on criminal records of candidates;
  • International support to enforce the monitoring of voter registration;
  • International support for the KQZ to establish a hotline for denouncing vote buying and the inclusion of public servants in campaigns;
  • International support for the monitoring of the role of the media in the elections and determining time segments for political broad casting; prohibition on using materials prerecorded by political parties without clear identification.

Rama’s main counter-proposals:

  • Deputy Prime Minister proposed by the opposition, with the right to monitor the directories of education, healthcare, and prisons to verify that they are not engaged in the elections;
  • A working group made of representatives from the US, EU, and OSCE to monitor that state property is not used for the elections;
  • Four deputy ministers proposed by the opposition.