Albanian parliament approves electoral reform


TIRANA, July 23 (Xinhua) — Albanian parliament approved here on Thursday the electoral reform agreed by the political parties on June 5.

A total of 99 lawmakers voted in favor of the electoral reform, six against and four abstained.

On June 5, Albanian political parties reached an agreement on the electoral reform, whose aim is to guarantee free and fair elections and is considered a key condition to start accession negotiations with the European Union (EU).

The agreement reached includes the depoliticizing of the election administration, the electronic identification of the voters, as well as some other technical issues which are in line with the recommendations made by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODHIR).

“The EU welcomes the adoption by the Parliament of the amendments to the Electoral Code, in line with the political agreement reached on June 5. This fulfills one of the key conditions to start accession negotiations, as stated in the Council conclusions of March 25 this year,” tweeted Luigi Soreca, head of the EU Delegation to Albania.

The adoption of the electoral reform was also welcomed by the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, who via a Twitter post, “urged all parties to continue discussions, so that spirit and results of June 5 agreement are not derailed.”

Meanwhile, via a Twitter post, the OSCE Presence to Albania said that “implementation is key, and we stand ready to assist the Albanian authorities in this path, as well as with the development of further reform steps.”

In March this year, the EU gave the green light to Albania to begin membership talks without setting a clear starting date. Enditem


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