From: Exit Staff
Special Anti-Corruption Prosecution Ordered Arrests of Two Deceased Electoral Commissioners

Two of the electoral commissioners ordered to be arrested for vote rigging during the 2017 general elections were found to have been deceased.

The news came after the widow of one of them told journalists that her husband had passed away in 2018.

Head of SPAK Arben Kraja blamed the families of the deceased for not removing them from the civil registry which brought to SPAK issuing arrest warrants. The widow of one of the deceased denied the claim, saying that they removed her late husband from the registry after his death in 2018.

On Wednesday, after nearly three years of investigations, the Special Anti-Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK) ordered the arrests of 22 people in connection to the rigging of elections. They stand accused of allowing the illegal cast of 52 votes in Albania’s second largest city, Durres.

Eight of them were from the opposition Democratic Party (PD), seven from the ruling Socialist Party (PS), three from the opposition Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI), three from the opposition Republican Party (PR), and one was a person who voted multiple times.

US Ambassador Yuri Kim praised the SPAK’s work against organized crime and corruption, as well as the advancement of justice reform. 

Prime Minister Edi Rama stated that arrest warrants show that the opposition has been more engaged in vote rigging than the majority, and that votes should not be counted by party representatives anymore.

The opposition PD called on SPAK to investigate Rama and the former Durres Mayor Vangjush Dako, who they claimed colluded with a notorious criminal gang in the city to rig the 2017 general elections.

German newspaper BILD published prosecution wiretaps of the Albanian Electiongate, where Prime Minister Edi Rama, ministers and many senior PS officials are heard discussing election strategy with police, administration officials, criminals and shady underworld figures.

Investigation and trial of those involved in vote rigging is one of the 15 conditions for Albania to sit in EU accession talks.