Albanian political parties have agreed to restart work on the electoral reform after it was suspended on March 9 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Political Committee comprising of majority and opposition representatives will meet on Monday, after opposition’s request. It came following majority representative Damina Gjiknuri’s warning that they were going to pass the electoral reform with or without the opposition’s consent if the latter refused to restart work.
Opposition leader Lulzim Basha said they are ready to approve the reform if their proposals are included in it.
One of the main contested issues is the opposition’s request for a “technical government” before each general election that would ensure free and fair elections. The majority has refused the proposal which the opposition considers “essential”.
Civil society groups have proposed the Political Committee to change the electoral system but they have refused. In the actual electoral system, MP candidates are practically decided by the party leader.
The Albanian political parties initially agreed to complete the electoral reform before March 15 but they were slow and the pandemic suspended the work. The new deadline is set for May 31.
This week, EU Ambassador Luigi Soreca called on both sides to restart work on the reform as soon as possible.
Essential that Political Council resumes cross-party work on #ElectoralReform, even in difficult #COVID__19 times. Crucial that the reform is backed by all political actors, in the highest interest of🇦🇱, in order to meet as soon as possible the condition set by @EUCouncil 🇪🇺
— Luigi Soreca🇪🇺 (@LSorecaEU) May 6, 2020
The reform is one of the conditions for Albania’s advancement in the EU integration process. The General Affairs Council, comprising of foreign ministers of EU members states, is expected to adopt conclusions on enlargement in June, hence the May 31 deadline for the electoral reform.