From: Exit Staff
Albanian Opposition Proposes Fully Open Electoral Lists, Majority Vows to Adopt Planned Changes  

On Friday, the extra-parliamentary opposition in Albania proposed parliamentary parties to adopt fully open candidate lists in elections, provided that rules for pre-electoral coalitions and calculation of votes do not change.

Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha announced the proposal after a meeting with all opposition party leaders. 

It comes after the ruling Socialist Party and opposition MPs insisted to change the Constitution and Electoral Code to include partially open lists and single lists for each coalition instead of one list of candidates for each party.

Prime Minister Edi Rama had vowed to adopt these changes with or without the extra-parliamentary opposition’s agreement. 

The opposition claims that such a one-sided move would violate their agreement on electoral reform facilitated by internationals.

They add that the partially open lists supported by parliamentary parties would give voters the choice to rank only less than 30 percent of MPs, while the rest will be decided by party leaders.

The opposition also proposed to get the opinion of OSCE/ODIHR on issues they disagree at the Political Council, which is composed of representatives of all sides.

On Friday, Rama applauded their proposal for open lists but said that this can discuss after the parliament adopts changes supported by Socialists. Rama wrote on Twitter that the important thing is that the opposition agrees to open lists. He dismissed their argument and conditions and vowed to pass amendments as planned.

“ LBPD’s [Rama’s nickname for “Lulzim Basha of the Democratic Party”] half-step towards open lists, which are the core of constitutional changes, is positive! As to how and to what extent they will be open, less than 75 percent or 100 percent, this is up to discussions after July 30! Until July 30, the important thing is that LBPD opened himself to the lists, which can be guaranteed only by the July 30 vote [in parliament],” Rama tweeted.  

Opposition’s proposal to adopt fully open lists was discussed today at the Political Council but no consensus was reached.

LSI representative Petrit Vasili said the extra-parliamentary opposition was asked by the Socialist representative, Damian Gjiknuri, to provide the signatures of 28 MPs to officially file their proposal in parliament. The extra-parliamentary opposition has no MPs in parliament.

They sat in talks on electoral reform with the ruling majority and other opposition MPs after several ambassadors facilitated talks and vouched that decisions regarding the reform would be consensually reached at the Political Council before going for a vote in parliament.  

Gjiknuri reportedly said that opposition’s proposals could be discussed after they adopt the changes pushed forward by Rama on July 30, the last annual parliamentary session, according to PD representative Oerd Bylyykbashi.