Eights Members of the European Parliament from the European People’s Party have increased the pressure against Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama regarding his Socialist Party plan to pass amendments to the Electoral Code on Thursday.
“We are therefore calling on you to put first the interest of the Albanian democracy and her European perspective and to refrain from voting the amendments in Parliament until the Venice Commission has spoken,” they say in a letter sent to Rama on Wednesday.
The MEPs highlight the EEP’s support of Albania’s EU accession path, and remind Rama of the condition for a “genuine electoral reform” before the start of EU talks.
They accused Rama of breaking the electoral reform deal with the opposition by attempting to amend the Electoral Code.
“We were dismayed to learn that you broke the 5 June Agreement with the Opposition in its letter and spirit by adopting unilateral amendments especially to the Electoral Code in order to gain advantage in the post election-day parliamentary mandates distribution,” the letter reads.
The US Ambassador to Albania, one of the main facilitators of the deal, Yuri Kim has stated that the approval of changes to the Electoral Code does not breach the electoral reform deal.
The MEPs further ask Rama to wait for the opinion of the Venice Commission in December, and then amend the law accordingly before the April 25 election.
These steps are very important for free and fair elections, and also related to the first intergovernmental conference with Albania.
“We have been very dismayed by your statements indicating that you rejected the Commissioner [Varhelyi]’s advice and want to break the established practice that no law enactment can occur before the Opinion by the Venice Commission has been assessed,” they stressed.
The letter was signed by the following MEPs of the largest party in the EP and the current European Commission: Michael Gahler, Sandra Kalniete, Andrey Kovatchev, David McAllister, Zeljana Zovko, David Lega, Vladimir Bilcik, and Lukas Mandl.
The Albanian parliament has scheduled a vote on the Electoral Code on Thursday, and the Socialists have vowed to pass it despite the pressure.