The parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs has overturned the presidential decree that vetoed changes to the Albanian Electoral Code.
On Tuesday, the committee voted with 15 votes in favor and 2 against President Ilir Meta’s veto.
As a result, the Electoral Code will be voted in parliament for a second time on Thursday, October 29.
The decision by the ruling Socialist majority comes amidst calls by the European Commission to wait for an opinion by the Venice Commission before a second final vote.
Commissioner for EU Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi reiterated his suggestion today for the Albanian parliament to delay the vote.
#Albania electoral code: Pleased that Prime Minister welcomes Venice Commission opinion on July Constitutional changes. It would therefore be prudent to wait it’s delivered before the revote in the Parliament. I look forward to free and fair elections in April 2021.
— Oliver Varhelyi (@OliverVarhelyi) October 27, 2020
However, Prime Minister Edi Rama yesterday, as well as the Socialist leader in parliament, Tauland Balla highlighted that a delay in approving the changes would jeopardize their implementation in the April 2021 elections.
President Meta vetoed the changes approved by the Socialist majority and the parliamentary opposition, and asked the Venice Commission for an urgent opinion.
Changes to the Electoral Code came after the majority, parliamentary and extra-parliamentary opposition agreed on an electoral reform brokered by the EU and US ambassadors. The deal between the three parties required changes to the Electoral Code. The Socialist majority and parliamentary opposition approved the changes agreed, and added some more.
The extra-parliamentary opposition claimed that the extra changes violated the electoral reform deal.
However, the facilitators of talks between the parties, EU and US acknowledged the right of the parliament to make changes to the law. The US ambassador added this did not violate the electoral reform deal.