OSCE Fears Elections May Slow Albania Reforms

The OSCE head in Albania, Eugen Wollfarth, has praised recent reforms in Albania, while expressing concerns that they might grind to a halt in 2013 during a ‘competitive’ election campaign.“In the last 12 months the political climate has improved as institutions made progress to regain their functionality,” Walfarth said in his annual report on the country.

“However, questions remain whether the impulse for reform will hold in 2013, a year that from the current outlook will have very competitive elections,” he added.

Albania’s main political parties, the Socialists and the Democrats, who have been on a war footing since the disputed 2009 parliamentary elections, have found enough common ground to pass several important reforms.

The OSCE notes that apart from electoral and immunity reforms, parliament at the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 adopted several important laws that required a qualified majority.

However, it underlines that the period has been one of “stop and go” reforms, as parties came under pressure to help the country’s accession process toward the EU.

“During the year, continued political conflicts… sometimes brought reforms to a standstill in certain sectors,” Wollfarth noted.

“However, the strong national desire for EU integration again served as a drive for progress,” he concluded.

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