Friday, September 10, 2010

OSCE Criticises Albanian Political Dispute

Tirana | 10 September 2010 |
Robert Bosch, head of the OSCE in Albania
Robert Bosch, head of the OSCE in Albania

Tirana’s political elite has been criticised by the OSCE for its failure to resolve the dispute over the results of the June 2009 parliamentary elections.

A report by the head of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE, presence in Albania, Robert Bosch, underlined that the Socialist opposition boycott of parliament for the better part of last year hindered Albania’s reforms necessary for the EU integration process.

“Although a legislative agenda was maintained over the last year, especially in the crucial areas pertaining to the visa liberalisation process, the fight against organised crime and corruption, economic reform and judicial police, the lack of political dialogue hampered the ability of the legislature to pass some pieces of legislation needed to further the integration agenda,” the report read.

Led by Tirana mayor Edi Rama, the Socialists have contested the results of the elections, narrowly won by the Democratic Party of Prime Minister Sali Berisha, as being marred by fraud.

They have held a series of protest and a near six-month long parliamentary boycott in order to force the government to agree to a recount of election ballots.

However, Berisha and his right-wing party have rejected the calls, arguing the opposition had exhausted all legal appeals and the government was respecting the powers of the judicial system by not overstepping its authority on the issue.

With upcoming local elections set for May 11, 2008, the OSCE urged both the government and the Socialist opposition to start working on changes to the electoral code, based on the recommendations of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, ODIHR.

“The ODIHR recommendations and other suggestions for further improvement of the system should be implemented soon,” noted the report, which was filed with the OSCE permanent council on Thursday.

It concluded: “After 20 long years of transition, the Albanian publics expect their political leaders to put the issue of contested elections in their country to a close," it read.

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