Tirana, 27 June 2013 – The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (CFFE) is pleased to report that the counting process in the Tirana election district successfully concluded on the evening of June 26, 2013. The counting process in the district of Tirana proceeded in a calm and orderly environment. While the process was marked by significant delays, votes were observed to have generally been counted accurately and fairly in all 18 BCCs. This represents a significant improvement over past counting processes and a positive step toward building public confidence in the election process.
CFFE would like to commend the actions of Albania's political leaders in making conciliatory statements as the election results became clear, culminating in Prime Minister Sali Berisha's concession speech on June 26th. These statements helped ease tensions and will hopefully set-up a peaceful and amicable political transition.
In conclusion of July 23, 2013 general elections, CFFE is regretful to observe that:
- Persons with disabilities will not have a representative of their own in the upcoming Albanian Parliament.
- Albanian women will again be under-represented in the upcoming Albanian Parliament, as they will be represented by only 25 MPs. In other words, 17.8% of the seats in the upcoming Albanian Parliament will be occupied by women, of which 14 representatives from the Socialist Party, 9 representatives from the Democratic Party, and 2 representatives for SMI.
CFFE main findings on Tirana election district, based on data received from our observers in Tirana's 18 BCC are as follows:
- Ballot counting administration officials largely followed electoral rules and guidelines, although long and unreasonable breaks often delayed the counting process. As a result, the district of Tirana was one of the last districts to finish counting ballots. CFFE observers reported 18 cases in 13 different BCCs of the process being suspended for more than 15 minutes. In many cases, the process was suspended for several hours. The most common cause of the suspension was BCC staff taking unscheduled breaks.
- Political party observers from all major parties including the Democratic Party, Socialist Party, Socialist Movement for Integration, New Democratic Spirit, and the Red and Black Alliance, were present in all BCCs. Although most party observers generally understood their roles in the process and refrained from interfering, 4 cases were reported of political party agents disrupting the process. These cases included party observers getting into loud verbal arguments with one another or with CEAZ staff that resulted in a disruption of the process.
- In 83% (15) of BCCs in the Tirana election district, CFFE observers reported that they were able to observe the entire process as well as access important information. In 3 BCCs, CFFE observers reported they were obstructed from viewing the entire counting process. Most often this occurred because CFFE observers were told by BCC officials that they could not enter BCCs on the justification that ballot counting centers were too crowded. In future elections, the Central Election Commission should ensure that all BCCs are large enough to accommodate all observers to ensure the counting process is fully transparent.
- Ninety-two percent (92%) of observers reported that from what they could observe BCC officials took correct and fair decisions regarding invalid and valid ballots.
- Observers reported only three instances of unauthorized persons in the ballot counting center in the election district of Tirana and they were duly addressed by BCC officials
CFFE will prepare a final report on all findings from the observation mission on the June 23, 2013 general elections and offer recommendations for the future.
The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections is an independent, non-partisan CFFE established by three civil society organizations to promote civic participation in and monitoring of the electoral process. CFFE focuses on issues that influence the upholding of human rights (in front of the law), gender equality and the rights of people with disability.
CFFE project on election observation is being assisted by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) through funding provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Austrian Development Agency, Civil Rights Defenders, the Open Society Foundation Albania, and most importantly, by the hundreds of Albanian citizens who volunteer their time to CFFE's efforts for the Parliamentary Elections of June 23rd, 2013.
Coalition for Free and Fair Election's findings can be found on its website at www.kzln.org.
For more information, please contact:
Cel: 068 20 59 301
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