Albanian Helsinki Committee Reports Multiple Legal Violations during June 30 Elections

The Albanian Helsinki Committee (KShH) has published its final report on the June 30 local elections. The conclusions cast a dark light on the elections, which were held in violation of President Ilir Meta’s cancellation, and were boycotted by the united opposition. The Socialist Party ran unopposed in 31 out of 61 municipalities and won the elections in all but one municipality.

The KShH report found numerous violations of the Electoral Code prior to and during the elections. Contrary to legal requirements, the ruling Socialist Party started its electoral campaign ahead of the official date, May 31. The PS also made extensive use of its control over large parts of the public administration to promote its own campaign activities, while at the same time forcing public servants to cast their votes. Quota were set for the amount of voters (relatives, friends) public servants were required to bring to the ballot box.

The report also states that the Central Election Commission (KQZ) operated politically and violated the legal requirement to assign local tellers (vote counters) within the deadline. On the voting day itself, the contradictory declarations by different members of the KQZ regarding voting numbers were confusing.

Furthermore, the KShH reports that in several vote centers there were irregularities with the transport of ballot boxes and with delays in vote counting, while unauthorized persons were seen inside vote centers.

The OSCE–ODIHR preliminary report on the elections found that voters “did not have a meaningful choice” and that they were held in “legal uncertainty.”