Preliminary results presented by the Central Election Commission show that the Socialist Party of Prime Minister Edi Rama has won 61 of 61 municipalities during a vote boycotted by the major opposition parties. President Ilir Meta had canceled the elections and moved them to October 13.
The Socialist Party ran as the only party in 31 municipalities, which it won automatically. In Shkodra, a traditionally democratic stronghold, 7 voting centers never opened. In response to this violation of the fundamental human right to a democratic vote, the Central Election Commission responded that “it didn’t matter,” because there were no opposition candidates running for mayor. Nevertheless, these voters were also deprived from their right to elect representatives to the municipal council.
In the municipalities where the Socialist Party faced opponents from local candidates or the last-minute registered “surrogate” Democratic Conviction party, the PS booked victories around 90%.
The elections yesterday saw only about 20% of the electorate vote, the lowest turnout since the transition to democracy 30 years ago. The result is a political system in which the Socialist Party has captured the government, Parliament, Prosecution Office, Central Electoral Commission (KQZ), and the local government throughout the country. The final step toward a fully autocratic state will be the capture of the Constitutional Court.
Meanwhile, the constitutional crisis endures. Despite the fact that the KQZ will certify the elections, President Ilir Meta’s decrees have the force of law until they are struck down by the Constitutional Court. It is therefore questionable whether the current mayors and councils in opposition-held municipalities will give up their positions at the end of their mandate.